Jacob's Ladder: People...You Are The Reason I Am...

Charles Kerruish

I joined hundreds of other Manx men and women at Maughold church for the funeral service of Sir Charles Kerruish. On the specially printed order of service was a fine photograph of Charlie and underneath were written the words Manninagh dooie true Manxman. I can't think of a more appropriate person for which those words should be used. I didn't know him very well but I suppose for most of my life he has been the most recognisable and vocal of all our national politicians. I remember well as a young scholar at Castle Rushen High School first becoming aware of national politics in the Isle of Man through the endeavours of Sir Charles. At that time the two seats in the constituency of Garff had been cut to one and at the General Election Charlie Kerruish and Dr Mann were fighting it out for the remaining place. Of course both men were political heavyweights and reports of the campaign in Garff were always very lively and in the end it was Charlie who won through. Listening to his message during that election, I think for the first time I started to become aware of the politics of nationalism, patriotism and Manxness. Even though I didn't know him that well I met him often enough particularly over the past 10 years. He was very fond of heavy horses, an interest we shared, and exhibitors will well remember his generosity and hospitality at the agricultural shows in inviting people to help him drink and eat their way through the contents of the well-stocked boot of his car. As old age began to creep up on him he was still prepared to battle against the harsh winter weather to come out to the ploughing matches to see the horses and often enough judge them too. Sir Charles also had a great love of Manx culture and I understand Mona Douglas was a good friend to him. I was delighted that he was willing to become patron of Mooinjer Veggey. He opened Mooinjer Veggey's first playgroup at Braddan over six years ago and has remained a great supporter of the group since then. More than that though Sir Charles Kerruish put all his not inconsiderable political abilities to constitutional reform which has shifted considerably the control of our Island. He worked hard to ensure that our British colonial past was replaced with democratic Manx controlled politics. Without doubt he was a true Manxman.

The above article is published with thanks to Isle of Man Online.


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