Gerry German, 1928–2012

Gerry was a tireless and inspiring fighter for racial justice in the education system. His family are organising a memorial event for him on Saturday 6 July at Christ Church, Union Grove, Clapham SW8 2QJ, beginning at 3 pm. There will be poetry, songs and speeches followed by refreshments and conversation. Further information can be obtained from Gerry’s son Deuan at

At the funeral last summer, led by Gus John, there were Bob Marley songs, Hindu prayers and reflections, a Christian hymn, Cwm Rhondda, psalms from the Jewish scriptures, a poem about emancipation, the Welsh national anthem, and a humanist reading from the works of George Bernard Shaw. Also, of course, there were many warm and loving tributes from friends, comrades and family members. ‘The true joy in life,’ wrote George Bernard Shaw, quoted by Deuan, lies in ‘being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one [and] being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.’

Shaw continued with words which captured everyone’s remembrance of Gerry: ‘My life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.’


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