Croydon Council is deeply saddened to announce Councillor Gerry Ryan, who represented the Whitehorse Manor and Selhurst wards for more than 16 years, has died following his brave battle with cancer.
Gerry was a lifelong Crystal Palace fan and was dedicated to Croydon and the area he represented.
Gerry’s childhood was spent in Lambeth, and he went to school at Streatham’s Bishop Thomas Grant. His family’s move to Croydon in 1975 coincided with his starting a BT electro-mechanical apprenticeship. He stayed with the company for all his working life. Gerry remained a keen proponent of apprenticeships and opportunities for all, believing that all talents should be encouraged.
Gerry was a long-term member of the Labour Party and an active trade unionist. He believed if you wanted to change the government of the day, you had to do something about it, and he did.
He was elected to the council in 1998, and became cabinet member for highways, transport and public services. While in that role, he oversaw the introduction of the domestic green box and recycling service, developed a programme of new street lighting in central Croydon, and initiated a taxi scheme to ensure safer weekend journeys home for town-centre revellers.
Gerry was always a champion of community life, playing an active role in a number of local events, including fundraising for the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, helping to organise the South Asian Pongal Festival and a number of community projects with Crystal Palace FC.
He was also an active, and respected, executive member of the Communication Workers Union, and a board member of the Crystal Palace Supporters Trust.
In the 2010 general election he contested a closely fought contest for the Croydon Central constituency.
“Gerry’s passing marks a sad day for our borough. It was an honour and a pleasure to serve alongside a man who was a tireless worker for the people of Croydon and a passionate trade unionist and Labour man. He made a difference for the better to the lives of those he served.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council