Tributes paid to Banbury Road old time dancer

Gerry Skinner in the air force in Egypt when he was about 18 or 19

Gerry Skinner in the air force in Egypt when he was about 18 or 19.  He was Born on January 4, 1924 and passed away on February 6, 2021.  - Credit: Courtesy of the Skinner family.

The son of a Hackney man who organised old time dancing clubs for the elderly paid tribute to his dad, and thanked neighbours for their "amazing support over the years". 

Gerald Skinner, known as Gerry, spent all his 97 years in Hackney, except for a period in Egypt during World War two. 

He was born and lived in Hackney Wick until he was 44 and then moved to Banbury Road 53 years ago.

Gerry died on February 6 and was buried in Manor Park. His son, Dave Skinner said neighbours came out to pay their respects when the procession passed his street. 

"There was a lot of people round there who knew him but a lot of people, obviously he outlived a lot of people, so there would have been a lot more people there," he said.

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Gerry was a member of Eton Manor Boys Club, which had run a Christian mission raising living standards in Hackney Wick since the late 19th century.  

He worked as a motor mechanic for the Post Office and Dave said: "He retired at 60 and then he carried on dancing with mum for years and years."

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He added: "He never had much but he enjoyed life to the full."

The only time Dave's father lived outside the borough was during his days as an aircraft mechanic in the Royal Air Force.

He told his son he had gone on a convoy through the Mediterranean and that some of the convoys were bombed, and that despite not "seeing much active service" he would go up in the mornings with the pilots to check the planes. 

Dave added: "They would come back and then play hockey and football with the locals most of the time."

But Gerry got called back when his mother was dying of cancer, only to arrive the day after her funeral.

"I  think my mum had taken flowers to the family for bereavement. My dad went round to thank her and that’s how it all started," Dave told the Gazette

"That was a long time ago they got married in 1947--- mum died six years ago."

Gerry Skinner wearing his Victoria Park bowls shirt. 

Gerry Skinner wearing his Victoria Park bowls shirt. - Credit: Courtesy of the Skinner family

Gerry's son said he is grateful to all the "kind neighbours" in Banbury Road who supported his father, especially Pat Parks who was his neighbour for 53 years, as well as members of the London Care Agency. 

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