Tributes to generous Gerry Grimes who devoted countless hours to his community of Aylsham
- Credit: Archant
Gerry Grimes loved Aylsham and devoted countless voluntary hours to making it a thriving community.
Mr Grimes, who has died aged 78, was chairman of Aylsham Recreation Ground for some 30 years, rolling up his sleeves to do everything from attending hundreds of meetings, raising funds, and getting up in the dark on wet winter mornings to check the pitch condition.
He was also one of the prime movers behind the launch of the successful Aylsham Heritage Centre.
A devoted family man, Mr Grimes had five children with his first wife - Noelle, Warren, Sean, Darren and Murray - and two more, Tara and Jason, with his second wife, Wendy. He was also a grandfather.
Harriet Lumb, acting chairman of the recreation ground committee, paid tribute to his many qualities.
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'Gerry was driven by an innate sense of citizenship – this is clear not only in the work he did on the rec, but also for all of his efforts in other areas of Aylsham town life,' she said.
'Quite simply, Gerry really cared for this community, in a way that others found inspirational, and nowhere is this more evident than in his work for the recreation ground committee. Gerry managed the big things and the little things and did it with dedication, loyalty, constancy, good humour, reliability and utter decency.'
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Born in Walcott, Mr Grimes attended the Paston School in North Walsham where his parents ran the Black Swan pub.
He went into the RAF to do his National Service and later returned to Norfolk after a spell in London.
He worked for companies including Crane Fruehauf and East Coast Plastics, retiring after 20 years with National Corrugated Board, in Norwich.
Mr Grimes survived a heart attack and volunteered as a guinea pig for a pioneering, and successful, treatment when he was diagnosed with leukaemia several years ago.
A keen sportsman, he had played football as a younger man and managed an under-eights football team, as well as being chairman of men's teams in Aylsham.
In 2005 he and his wife Wendy were invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party as a thank you for his community work.
He was involved with Aylsham Heritage Centre from the start, as a member of the steering committee and as treasurer of its managing body, the Aylsham Community Partnership (ACP).
Mr Grimes also spent many Saturdays manning the centre so that visitors could browse its exhibitions and collection of local photographs.
Giles Margarson, ACP chairman, said: 'Gerry was a very warm character. As treasurer, he was tenacious, determined, meticulous and very generous with his time.'
A celebration of Mr Grimes' life will be held in Aylsham Parish Church on Wednesday December 16 at 3pm.