Jerry started his water polo journey with Beckenham SC; the following year saw him start at Loughborough University and at Polytechnic in the National League, as well as playing for GB at the World University Games in Mexico and the European Junior Championships, where he finished third top goal scorer (behind the German legend Hagen Stamm and Spain’s future superstar Manuel Estiarte). His GB senior debut happened that year and he went on to captain the national side from 1986 through to the European Championships in Sheffield in 1993, completing a 200-match international career.
Jerry’s love of water polo (and distaste for regular employment) took him far and wide. He played for Exiles in Malta in 1983, then in Australia, where he was leading scorer in the 1986 State Championships. Back home, he was a star of the Poly team that won seven National League titles between 1979 and 1993, plus numerous ASA and British Championships. He was a pivotal member of the GB 30+ Masters team at the 1992 World Masters in Indianapolis, where GB lost by a single goal to Hungary in the semi-final.
It was at that time that Jerry’s relationship with Sarah was beginning and it wasn’t long before the erstwhile confirmed bachelor began to see polo as secondary. Within a few years, daughter Tuesday and son Olly had appeared and polo was relegated to the back seat – but not for too long. Having moved to Gloucestershire, Jerry joined Cheltenham, helping the club win BWPL titles as player, then assistant coach.
However, in 2013 what had been an unexplained cough was diagnosed as something considerably more serious – stage 4 renal cancer. Years of painful surgical and unpleasant chemotherapy treatments followed but the unwavering spirit that Jerry had shown in the pool remained. He fought for far longer than could reasonably have been expected, displaying unbelievable stoicism in the face of such adversity. Sadly that fight has now been lost and Jerry passed away peacefully at home with his family around him on 27 November.
Jerry’s memorial takes place on Thursday 7 December at St John the Baptist Church, Chalford Hill, Stroud (GL6 8HN), 2pm, followed by a reception at Chalford Hill Sports & Social Club.
Photo: Jerry is fourth from left, back row, in this 1983 picture of the Exiles team in Malta.