LEAMINGTON has lost a true champion.
Gerry McManus was a Coventry kid who was proud of his city roots and equally proud of his Irish heritage.
But he was also passionate about his professionally adopted Leamington, and played a pivotal role over the past two decades in making the town the first rate shopping destination it is today. He may have been manager of the Royal Priors, but his determination to help boost business extended beyond the doors of the centre.
He was instrumental in setting up the BID, which has done so much for the town over the past decade, and he was always looking at possible ways to draw more people to the town centre, both to shop in the day, and to wine and dine in the evening.
While his bosses at the Royal Priors may not have been keen to see the long-muted shopping centre built on Chandos Street car park –
a stone’s throw away from the centre – Gerry was. He saw the potential which he knew would benefit the entire town centre, and including his beloved Priors.
He always saw the wider-picture, and he always saw the positive.
Only weeks before his untimely death he talked of seeing something done to improve the top of the Parade, from Warwick Street to Christchurch Gardens, which he bemoaned as little more than a bus station.
He was a man with a real drive and determination to get things done, and his achievements are there for all to see.
For most who knew Gerry however, he will not be remembered simply as the Royal Priors Centre Manager, he will be remembered as a friend.
Gerry went about his business with a big smile, a hearty chuckle, and a pat on the back. The people of Leamington this week lost a true friend.