TRIBUTES have been paid to a man who brought Christmas cheer to Fareham.
Gerald Duffy, of Western Court, West Street, died on December 1 aged 89.
The retired businessman was instrumental in bringing Christmas trees and lights to Fareham town centre, through his role as vice chairman, treasurer and public relations officers of West Street Traders’ Association.
Not only did he bring Christmas to the town, he was also responsible for bringing hanging baskets to the centre, and organising them through Fareham In Bloom.
His work was recognised in The News’ We Can Do It Awards, where he was crowned ‘Best Volunteer’ in 2000.
Mr Duffy’s niece Linda Banyard, from Horsham, paid tribute to her ‘kind and caring’ uncle.
She said: ‘He was a really nice, kind and lovely uncle.
‘He was one of four brothers and he was the last one left as he was the baby,
‘I never heard him say a nasty word about anybody.
‘In fact if somebody made an oblique reference he would turn it around and make it a compliment.’
Council leader Sean Woodward also paid tribute to Mr Duffy.
He said: ‘I would like to pay tribute to him and pass my condolences to his family.
‘Fareham’s Christmas trees and lights are a tradition that has carried on for many years so I am grateful to him for being instrumental in this.
‘These days thousands of people come to enjoy what he started and to see the lights switched on.’
Mr Duffy was born and educated in Denmead, before moving to Fareham. He ran several businesses, including a shop-fitting company that did lots of work in Southampton. On his retirement, he put his energy into the West Street Traders’ Association.
He had lived at his home in Western Court for more than 15 years.
Mr Duffy died following a short illness, which was brought on after he suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with MND. He spent his last three weeks at a care home in Gosport.
Mr Duffy’s funeral will be held on Monday, December 21 at 2.15pm at Portchester Crematorium, in Upper Cornaway Lane. All who knew him are welcome to attend.