Public steps up to give fitting tribute to George Gill

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 12, 2014

Debby Hennessey is thrilled to have collected more than $2,500 from people eager to give the late George Gill a fitting tribute.

©Guardian photo

George Gill is not forgotten.

Two years after Charlottetown’s most recognizable bottle collector died, many are chipping in to keep Gill’s memory alive.

Donations have poured in since Debby Hennessey started collecting money to get a headstone for her most colourful late customer.

A recent article in The Guardian helped in getting bills stuffed into a jar at Hennessey’s Grafton Café in Charlottetown.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT HENNESSEY'S FUNDRAISING EFFORTS

The tally after closing day Tuesday was a whopping $2,575.

That’s plenty to get the job done.

However, Zach Court of Victoria Stone in Charlottetown has stepped up to provide an engraved tombstone at no cost.

So Hennessey will be putting all that generously donated money into the George Gill Memorial Fund with the money going to the Salvation Army and the food bank.

“George partook in both of them,’’ says Hennessey.

“The Salvation Army helped him so much.’’

Hennessey is thrilled by the success of what may at first appeared to be a modest effort at raising funds by placing a jar on her café counter with the following inscription: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Please donate to have a monument made for our friend George Gill. Help his legacy have a fitting Tribute. Thank you.’’

Thank you indeed.

Still, Hennessey is not surprised in collecting almost $2,600 in just a few weeks.

“Well I get goose bumps every time someone brings money in,’’ she says.

“I know that people are generous.’’

For many, the donations were personal.

One person from Slave Lake came in Monday morning. He told Hennessey that he used to work in Charlottetown in the 70s and 80s then handed over a 50-dollar bill.

“He said ‘I knew George and I just wanted to donate to the fund,’’’ she says.

A contribution of $40 came with a letter detailing how Gill used to knock on the person’s door looking for milk when the pair both lived on Union Road many years ago.

“Oh, the stories,’’ says Hennessey.

Hennessey is inviting the public to view the new headstone Friday at 2 p.m. at Union Road Community Cemetery where stories about Gill are certain to be shared.

jday@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/PEIGuardian