The Gibraltarian Community has reacted to the news of the death of Manolo Ruiz, Chairman of the Gibraltar Senior Citizens Association, who died yesterday at 88 years of age.
Mr Ruiz was a much loved and respected member of our community who was best known for his tireless advocacy for our elderly citizens. He gave a voice to those who felt they no longer had one, raising awareness of what was needed, and fought for the implementation of many services and initiatives, such as the installation of panic buttons at home, the lifts at the entrance to St Bernard's Hospital, the eradication of the bus fare for over 60's, and most recently the installation of a new mobility scooter charging point at Casemates Square, as an emergency topping up station for mobility scooters that might not have enough battery to reach their destination or home.
Mr Ruiz also highlighted the matter of loneliness amongst our senior citizens, especially during the Covid pandemic and was involved in the Tea for Two initiative, which offered an opportunity for seniors to meet for a tea and a chat, which has sadly been put on hold for now.
Commissioner of Police Richard Ullger tweeted, "It is with great sadness that the @RGPolice learn of the passing of Mr Manolo Ruiz. He had been a valued member of the Gibraltar Police Authority and was a staunch supporter of the @RGPolice. He will be sadly missed by us all."
Keith Azopardi, Leader of the Opposition also took to twitter, "Manolo Ruiz was a great campaigner for senior citizens, an astute, determined & no nonsense representative & a person who was committed to always improving the lot of his fellow Gibraltarians. Our condolences to his family. He will be missed greatly & fondly remembered."
The Gibraltar Disability Rights Federation wrote,
"The GDRF are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Manolo Ruiz, chairperson of Senior Citizen Association. Manolo was a great and much loved person and a true advocator for the rights of both seniors, over his many years in the Association,and more recently of persons with disabilities. We will endeavour to continue his inspiring work and ensure that his legacy continues. Rest in peace, you will be missed."
Equality Rights Gib wrote,
"It is with great heaviness of heart that we have today learnt of the passing of Manolo Ruiz. Manolo has for years been the firm and insistent advocate for the rights of seniors. We will all feel the absence of his voice."
GHITA Gibraltar wrote,
"We are saddened by the death of Manolo Ruiz Chairperson of the Senior Citizens Association. His relentless fighting spirit has inspired many of us. A truly remarkable and giving person. Our condolences to the family."
Together Gibraltar said that it "notes with great sadness the passing of Manolo Ruiz, President of the Senior Citizens Association. Manolo was one of the great servants of our community, selflessly devoting his life for the benefit and care of its most vulnerable members. He championed the cause of the elderly, understanding their needs like no other, and spoke on behalf of those whose voices were too frail to speak for themselves. We pay tribute to one of the true legends of civil society. May he rest in peace. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends."
Reacting to the news, the Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP said, "Manolo was an indefatigable advocate for elderly citizens. He was always ready to take up the issues that mattered to members of his organisation and non-members alike and he was powerful in his arguments and in his presentation of matters. I will miss his correspondence and his humour and friendship in meetings. Gibraltar has lost a committed member of the community whose solidarity with those who needed his help was palpable. Our condolences to his wife and family."
Vox extends its most heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.