Ambulance chief from Lewes who helped hotel bomb victims dies

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A leading ambulanceman who co-ordinated the rescue operation following the bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984 has died at the age of 66.

Gerry Rooney came to the aid of victims of the IRA attack during the Conservative party conference.

Mr Rooney, of North Way, Lewes, spent 23 years in the Ambulance Service. He began his career in the county town before moving to Brighton and quickly rose through the ranks. He was a Divisional Commander when he took early retirement in 1992.

In the years following he raised his two young children, Claire and Daniel, as a single parent.

Mr Rooney was a popular character in the town, with a reputation for doing his best to help others. Many residents will recall his efforts in the wake of the Lewes flood of October, 2000. He was a great supporter of St Pancras Catholic Primary School which he had attended as a boy.

In retirement he continued to practice his love of carpentry, photography and fishing – he particularly loved trips to The Pells – and in more recent years discovered an interest in bowls which he enjoyed with his brother Brian.

Claire and Daniel are inviting friends to join in a celebration of their father’s life at St Pancras RC Church, Lewes, on October 11 (12noon) and later at The Lamb in Fisher Street, where Mr Rooney used to enjoy a drink or two.