THE heartbroken mum of Gogglebox star George Gilbey has paid tribute to her son as a “devoted father” who had “buckets of personality”.

George Gilbey, 40, from Point Clear, St Osyth, died on Wednesday, March 27, following a fall from height at work in Shoebury.

George was best known for appearing on Channel 4’s Gogglebox alongside mum Linda McGarry and step-dad Pete, who died aged 71 following bowel cancer in 2021.

Gazette: Devastated - Mum Linda McGarry described George Gilbey (right) as her best friendDevastated - Mum Linda McGarry described George Gilbey (right) as her best friend (Image: Linda McGarry)

George, a qualified roofer, had only been back at work for three days and was trying to “rebuild his life”.

Mum Linda said: “I’m devastated - he was like my best friend.

“He had the best heart in the world – he was generous, funny and kind, with bundles of charm and buckets of personality.

“He did more in his 40 years than people do in 90 – he’s even had dinner with the Prince of Dubai.

“He was crazy, but after coming out of showbiz, he couldn’t get his life back together.

“He just couldn’t get over the death of Pete.

Gazette: Googlebox star George GilbeyGooglebox star George Gilbey (Image: Family)

“I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and he took it worse than me. He was a mummy’s boy.

“He came to celebrity over night but didn’t really want to be – he was just normal.

“But it allowed him to do charity work – anytime anyone contacted him about charity work, he prioritised it.”

She added that George was destined for showbiz after being “brought up” in pubs – Linda previously ran The Woolpack in Witham, with George’s dad Jim, and the King’s Head, Braintree.

He studied at the Alec Hunter secondary school in Braintree before becoming a roofer.

George made his big break on Gogglebox after a friend said they were auditioning for a new TV show that was looking for “personalities”.

“He did an interview but his friends were too shy,” Linda said. “So they called me in.

“My husband was shy, but he did it anyway. It just took off from there.

“When they offered him Big Brother we had to come off of it.

“He was a stay-at-home dad after Amelie was born. He was such a good dad.”

George appeared on the 14th series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2014, reaching the final of the contest. He then met former partner Gemma Conway, with whom he has Amelie Iris, seven.

“He was a really devoted dad,” said Gemma, who remained close friends with George.

Gazette: Sofa - Linda, George and Pete filming GoggleboxSofa - Linda, George and Pete filming Gogglebox (Image: Channel 4)

“Amelie was his absolute world – he lived for that little girl and his mum.

“George was a real contradiction – he was so funny and so intelligent. A lot of people don’t know how intelligent George was.

“He was smart, which allowed him to be quick-witted and he was loud and outgoing, but at the same time very sensitive. He helped others, but he struggled himself.”

Linda thanked those who had sent their condolences.

She said: “People are devastated – he had mates all over the place – they called him ‘Squeaky George’.

George leaves mum Linda, daughter Amelie, as well as brother Jamie, foster brothers Mickey, Lee, Mo, Chris, Matt, Bradley and sisters Jackie and Beth.

George died while he was working at the EGL Homecare warehouse, Campfield Road, Shoebury, on March 27.

Essex Police said it has launched a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive.

A man in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter and has been released under investigation.

A fundraising campaign has been launched in aid of George’s family. To donate, go to