A GREAT Skerries man in Gerry Besseling has been named as the winner of the 2012 Skerries Volunteer of the Year award, an annual award that honours the memory of Jim Quigley and acknowledges the work of outstanding volunteers in the community.
Jane Landy, Chairperson of Skerries Community Association (SCA) presented the 2012 award to Gerry at the association's recent AGM. The panel of independent judges chose Gerry as the winner based on his long service to the community and the broad range of activities to which he has contributed his time. Gerry's late wife Joan was a founding member of Prosper Fingal and Gerry was a major fund-raiser for the organistion for many years. He ran raffles, changed the collection boxes in the local shops, collected vegetables for their sales of work, and when the Euro changeover happened he collected old coins for a long time afterwards and brought them into the Central Bank long after other banks stopped taking them.
Gerry was also very involved in Daffodil Day each year as a ticket seller, organising coffee mornings and he stood collecting money for the annual cancer charity day for many years. When he wasn't strong enough to do all that, he drove from collector to collector giving them fresh money boxes, and in later years acted as a money counter. He is a founder member of the local bridge club and has acted for many years as its treasurer. For many years he was involved in laying out and clearing up the tables four nights per week for the group. Gerry has also been involved for many years with the bowling club and helps to organise matches and tournaments.
He has organised a huge number of holidays for the elderly people of Skerries. For many of them, these are the only holidays they go on. Some of these are bridge holidays, or bowling holidays, or often they are just open to anyone. Gerry has also been known to give talks to Skerries Historical Society and to local schools about his very interesting life. He is always generous in giving his time. According to the judging panel, apart from his charity and community work, Gerry is the best neighbour one could ask for. He is well known by all on Strand Street, and always has a cheery wave for passers by, and will offer plant cuttings and gardening advice, or any help he can offer. Gerry is an inspirational member of the community of Skerries and his award is well deserved.