Sir Henry Charles Kerruish OBE LLD (hc) SHK CP (1917-2003)
Distinguished politician and campaignr for greater Manx self-determination. He was the longest serving Presiding Officer in the Commonwealth and the first President of Tynwald.
Charles Kerruish was born in 1917 to a Maughold farming family, and was educated at the Dhoon and Ramsey Grammar School. Before he was twenty, he was running the family farm at Ballafayle, and throughout his life he remained a vigorous member of the Island's agricultural community.
In 1946 he was elected MHK for Garff, representing that constituency until 1990. From 1962 to 1990 he was Speaker of the House of Keys, and in 1990 he was elected as the first President of Tynwald, a post he occupied until his retirement in 2000.
During his time as MHK, Speaker and President of Tynwald, Charles Kerruish campaigned for greater self-determination for, and political reform in, the Isle of Man. In 1957 he was involved in the negotiations which resulted in the UK Government surrendering to Tynwald control of a number of major aspects of government. He also supported reforms which reduced the role of the Lieutenant-Governor.
Charles Kerruish was a great ambassador for the Island through his involvement in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He became the longest-serving presiding officer in the Commonwealth, and served as CPA Vice-President in 1982-1983 and President in 1983-1984.
A constant champion of democracy