GERRY BLAKE (d.2002)
Members will be saddened to hear of the death of Gerry Blake at the age of 72 in September. He had been an active member of The Questors for forty years, serving on the Committee of Management and being made a life member of The Grapevine Club for his many years of service behind the bar.
However, it is for his contribution to the field of stage management that he will be best remembered. He had worked professionally at Stratford East and Croydon and he brought to The Questors a wealth of practical know-how. Flying, (he flew six large screens into a tiny space in the catwalks for Big Soft Nellie,), getting a door to close in nine seconds exactly, organising our first trip to The Minack, running Questabout, creating, with Bron, amazing oysters for Alice or monster heads for Merry Wives, even playing a small part from time to time, it was all in a day's work to him. As Stage Manager you knew who was in control and that he would cope efficiently, usually with a smile, with any of the problems a show would throw up.
He was a man of many parts and there are a lot of Questors members who went sailing with him in Bugle Call or on one or other of Eric Lister's boats. He was a good man to have with you when the going got bouncy.
He was also a gifted pianist and there were many sing-songs round his piano and some memorable carol evenings in The Grapevine. His love of Mozart brought him great joy but he also had wide knowledge of the modern musical.
He worked as a teacher of primary school children for many years. They came to him naturally as an authority and friend. He had vast funds of information for them and you could be certain that his enthusiasm, humour and willingness to learn with them would leave them with experiences that would remain with them all their lives. He should have been a head but his contempt for the bureaucracy that has a stranglehold on contemporary education held him back. He was the better teacher for it.
In the garden he was green fingered and in later years he was one of the three gnomes who have done so much to make The Questors' gardens the picture that they are. The other two will miss him.
Perhaps the lasting things that will be remembered are his many kindnesses, his generosity and above all his smile, which so many people commented on when they heard of his passing. While these were with him all the time he was at The Questors they became more pronounced with the happiness and contentment he found with Bron. All our thoughts go out to her at this grieving time.
[Questopics 481, October 2002]