Praise for Sheffield man’s final action over welfare cuts

Gerry Poole
Gerry Poole

TRIBUTE was paid this week to Gerry Poole, the Sheffield man whose cancer diagnosis prompted him to campaign against “the terrible impact of welfare cuts”.

The 28-year-old had said: “I will use my time left to shame those in power.”

Gerry, who lived in Walkley, was diagnosed in January last year with stomach cancer, which spread to his liver and oesophagus.

He was given six months to live, then 12 if he responded to chemotherapy.

In fact, the former statistician and librarian lived longer and was even able to take part in last month’s St Luke’s Hospice Starlight Walk, in a wheelchair.

Eamonn Ward, of Sheffield Green Party, said: “Gerry was briefly a member of the Green Party but he then chose to campaign outside of party politics.

“He gave all his energy to those needing help that he now leaves behind. He highlighted the many failings of the benefits system for those diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

“Plus the injustice of cuts and longer qualifying periods in the coalition welfare reforms. And he was on the streets with UK Uncut highlighting the tax avoiders not paying their fair share while the disabled bear the brunt of the cuts.

“He achieved a lot in his final 16 months and inspired many people who will continue to campaign for fairness and equality.”

Gerry supported an alliance of cancer charities that wrote to Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith over their concerns patients will be pushed into poverty as a result of welfare reforms.