A real character who knew, and was known by, everyone

Gerry Balmbra
Gerry Balmbra

A well-known Alnwick character ‘who knew everyone’ has died after a long illness.

Gerry Balmbra passed away, aged 76, on Tuesday, September 9.

Born and bred in the town, Gerry had been ill for the last year after a stroke four years ago left him housebound.

A jack of all trades, he worked in the building industry and as a mechanic and as well as being involved with racing motorbikes and rally cars.

When he left school, Gerry’s first job was as a stonemason and he worked on the Lion Bridge.

At one point, he also ran a garage on Pottergate, with a Chrysler franchise as well as running a skip company with his son, Dixon.

He was married to wife Rosie, 73, for almost 50 years.

She said: “He was such a character. He knew everybody and everybody knew him. He loved his jokes; he could stand up like Bernard Manning and run the jokes off .

“After his stroke, he had carers coming three times a day and he was always joking with them.But in the last year he just deteriorated, he wasn’t even mobile.

“He is a real miss, the house is so quiet without him here.”

Gerry was also well-known for his demolition work.

Rosie added: “There are a lot of buildings in Alnwick that aren’t here anymore because Gerry knocked them down.”

Gerry is survived by his children Leslie and Dixon as well as wife Rosie.

His mother Anne is still alive, aged 99, and has survived all her children and one of her grandchildren.

A funeral service was held for Gerry at St Paul’s RC Church on Friday, September 19.