Gerry might have been Small in name and small in stature, but in all other aspects he was larger than life. Many people knew Gerry in Brewood and much further afield. He had many interests – the British Legion, selling eggs, playing dominoes, and horses amongst others. However, his enduring pride and passion, were his family and grandchildren and his volunteering activities with Truman Enterprise Narrowboat Trust. This is a local charity which provides canal trips for community groups and families with members who are elderly, disabled unwell or disadvantaged aboard the narrowboat Enterprise, based at Calf Heath near Cannock. Gerry spent a lot of his life working on the canals around the West Midlands and Staffordshire and had been a volunteer on the Walsall Enterprise when it was moored in Brewood. In 2005 Gerry was “head-hunted” when the Truman Enterprise Narrowboat Trust took over the boat and he remained a volunteer with the Trust from then on, completing over 30 years of charitable volunteering service in total.
Ever popular with user groups Gerry never failed to entertain passengers and volunteers with tales of his many exploits on the canals over the years. Many groups specifically requested Gerry as their skipper for the day, and most fellow volunteers gained from his boating experience and encouragement. It is true to say that Gerry would brighten up even the rainiest grey days. Gerry was a familiar face with other canal users, particularly the anglers on the canal bank, and with whom he never failed to have a friendly banter as the boat passed by. Other skippers and crew were often asked “where’s Gerry?” on days he was not skippering trips. His service to the Trust over the years was beyond question – he was always ready and willing to help and do whatever was required to ensure that the community groups using the boat had a happy, memorable trip.
Gerry’s family have asked that any donations should go to support the work of Truman Enterprise Narrowboat Trust in his memory. Hopefully, any donations will go towards the purchase of a new purpose-built community boat, to replace the ageing Enterprise boat currently in use and which Gerry was looking forward to skippering.
We have all gained from knowing Gerry and his loss is hard to take, but his memory will live on. God bless you, Gerry, and Rest in Peace.
- DAVID KAY
- Doreen & Phillip Wheeldon
- Derek. &Marie Machin
- Richard Bark
- Oswald Cutayar
Organizer and beneficiary
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