By anguillian September 19, 2014 08:49



The late Mr Bertram Lionel Richardson, of North Hill, was accorded a National Funeral by the Government of Anguilla in appreciation of his outstanding contribution to the island. The Service of Thanksgiving for his life was held at Bethel Methodist Church on Wednesday, September 10.

The service was attended by a large cross-section of persons from throughout the island, symbolic of the high regard in which he was held. The service was conducted jointly by the Rev Dr Wycherley Gumbs, Superintendent of the Anguilla Circuit of the Methodist Church and a product of the North Hill community; and Rev John A Gumbs.

One of the distinguishing factors of the funeral was the closing of the casket with a model of the famous Saga Girl, one of the early popular class B racing boats. It was owned and captained by Mr Richardson and was a keen rival of Saga Boy, owned by Sir Emile Gumbs.
Chief Minister, Hubert Hughes, was among a number of speakers who paid tribute to the late Mr Richardson who was a recipient of the Anguilla Medal of Honour and a Queen’s Certificate, in 2006, for his contribution to the Anguilla Revolution. He was also a significant contributor to the social development of the island.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Anguilla, and on my own behalf, we join in expressing our condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the late Bertram Richardson,” the Chief Minister said. “We all are gathered here to pay our last respects to this very outstanding son of the soil.

“Bertie’s record proves that he was a really great man – a man of many parts who built a house by himself; who built boats; was a navigator; a businessman; and a promoter of tourism. Mr Richardson was an active supporter and contributor to the Anguilla Revolution. He was one of the many foot soldiers who guarded Anguilla’s beaches and coastlines during those turbulent and uncertain days of the Revolution. He played a keen interest in the island’s political development by contesting the general elections of 1981 and 1984 in the Road North Constituency under Mr Ronald Webster’s Peoples’ Progressive Party.”

The Chief Minister spoke of the Executive Council’s decision to accord Mr Richardson a National Funeral and the flying of flags at half-mast as a mark of respect to his passing.

Mr Edison Baird, Elected Representative of the Road North Constituency, spoke largely about Mr Richardson’s well known work in bicycle maintenance at a time when bicycles were the popular means of transport on Anguilla’s dusty roads; his contribution to: the building trade; tourism through gift shops at North Hill and Sandy Ground; boat-building and boat-racing and a host other social activities.

Mr Baird described Mr Richardson as having been a friend, mentor and political colleague in every election that he (Baird) contested in Road North from 1989 to 2010, spanning a period of over 25 years. “Some of my best ideas came from him, such as the need for a road around the pond; bathroom facilities for Sandy Ground; and an outlet road from Sandy Ground to South Hill.” Mr Baird suggested that when such a road is provided that it should be named the Bertram Richardson Sandy Ground Outlet Road.

The Formal Remembrance was delivered by radio personality, Iwandai Gumbs, who hails originally from the North Hill community. The all-embracing presentation covered all facets of Mr Richardson’s involvement in the social development of Anguilla, including aspects of his contributions mentioned above. “Bertram died at the age of 74, although we would have wanted him to be with us much longer,” Iwandai stated in conclusion. “He had lived a full and exemplary life, but it was his time to go. He had completed his earthly mission and was called home on 28th August, 2014.”

There were a number of other tributes during the allotted period preceding the actual commencement of the thanksgiving service.

Contingents of the Royal Anguilla Police Force and the Police Community Band, in an impressive performance under the general command of Sergeant Brian Best, provided the official procession and other courtesies at the funeral. A contingent of Police officers bore Mr Richardson’s body inside and outside the church and to the Sandy Ground Cemetery (from a nearby location). There, a gun salute was fired as the final honour to Mr Richardson, and the folded National Flag of Anguilla was presented to his widow, Mrs Marguerita (Rita) Richardson.

By anguillian September 19, 2014 08:49


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