Browsing through CAMRA online, as I am wont to do, I came across a recent “The Brown Stuff” in ALE which I'd not seen before. I knew it was an article I'd never read because it was entitled “ Where have all the games gone?” and I recognised a paragraph about darts that the author had shamelessly lifted from my own article for a recent edition of Ely Isle Ale. My immediate reaction was “the bastard, I'll kill him!” Except I can't, because Jerry's dead.

Contrary to early press reports, Jerry died of a heart attack caused by a clot that had probably been building over a period of time. His demise was as unexpected as it was sudden; as incomprehensible as it is unfair. Jerry was a larger than life character, and his life was huge. A man whose zest for life was as great as any one I have known. It is hard to reconcile one's self with the loss of the life of someone who had such a lust for living it.

There is a period between the occurrence of a death and the acceptance of it when one is almost in denial: I think “Jerry is” rather then “Jerry was” and expect to do so for some time and for the benefit of anyone who never made the acquaintance of Brownie Boy – and there can be precious few of those in this corner of the globe – Jerry is/was a great champion of pubs, beer, wine, golf, Rule Britannia and Tottenham Hotspur. He was/is ebullient, raucous, controversial, irrepressible, passionate and generous. To be in Jerry's company was to be in good company indeed.

Jerry is survived by his two children Nick and Anna, of whom he was justly proud, and Baggy, our manager. He passed away on the afternoon of 31 May at the home of Charles and Laura Roberts, to whom all that knew him owe their deepest thanks. His last words may well have been “I'd like a stiff drink”. I very much hope so. Jerry called a spade a spade, but often a bucket was a spade too, and if you argued with him you were wrong. The world has just become a quieter place.

ALE articles reflected his passion for pubs and pub-going. He never held back in pointing the finger at those – the bigger brewers/pub companies and the government – who he considered not to be the drinker’s friend but the essence of his message was that pubs are mostly wonderful places to be. The Cambridge area, and ALE too, will be much duller without him. I was half-tempted to title the article “the Brown Stiff” – terrible taste, but Jerry wouldn’t have minded a bit.