FAREWELL, THANKS TO A BENEVOLENT AND VISIONARY PATRIOT National Funeral for Albert Applebaum Richardson Lake, OBE

anguillian
By anguillian December 11, 2017 11:07 Updated

 

 

 

The milling throngs of people, from all walks of life, who turned out to say goodbye to the late Albert A. R. Lake, OBE at the celebration of his life in the courtyard of Albert’s Marketplace – and at the National Funeral for him at St. Mary’s Parish Church told a story of love, respect, gratitude and admiration for a man who graced the length and breadth of Anguilla during his long lifetime.
Mr. Lake, who was profusely eulogised for his enormous contribution to the development of Anguilla and the empowerment of many of his fellow nationals – through his abundant philanthropy – departed this life on October 30, 2017 at the age of ninety-one. Over seventy-five of those years he rose from humble beginnings to head a business empire which included Albert’s Sol Service Station, Lake’s Do It Best Hardware, Lake’s Home Décor, Lake’s Quarry, Elodia’s Beach Resort and Lake’s Real Estate. His outstanding contribution to Anguilla won him an MBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second in 1978 and an OBE in 1999. The Government of Anguilla awarded him a Badge of Honour and Queen’s Certificate in 2008 for his contribution to Social Development.

The National Funeral accorded to this distinguished and unforgettable Anguillian businessman, for whom flags flew at half-mast over Government buildings for two days, was held at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, The Valley, on Saturday, December 2, 2017. The funeral procession originated at Rey’s Funeral Home and was joined on Albert’s Drive by contingents of the Royal Anguilla Police Force, the Police/Community Band and members of JTR Advance Security. The procession included Police Pall Bearers to bear Mr. Lake’s casket to and from the church – and a Firing Party as a Guard of Honour and to perform a gun salute at the gravesite. The hearse was driven by Mr. Lake’s daughter, Susie, Manager of Albert’s Wholesale and Marketplace.

There were three main tributes. The first was by the Leader of the Opposition in the Anguilla House of Assembly, Ms. Palmovan Webster, who spoke of some aspects of a business relationship with Mr. Lake with respect to land matters and agricultural production for young people. She described him as a visionary for whom she had the greatest esteem saying, among other things, that his life had greatly impacted others and was an example to all. “I want to say that this great man made a difference in Anguilla, and may the meaning of his life remain with all of us. God bless his memory and his family,” she added.
The second tribute was delivered by the Acting Governor, Mr. Perin Bradley. He recalled that Mr. Lake was a frequent guest at various functions at Government House, and on several occasions he had assisted in funding the Christmas fairs there, among other contributions. He joined in extending condolences to Mr. Lake’s family.
Chief Minister, Mr. Victor Banks, delivered the Government’s official statement.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Anguilla, as well as on my own behalf, I join in expressing condolences to the family and friends of the late Albert Lake, MBE, OBE, “ he said. “Mr. Lake was not only a great man. He was an extraordinary human being and so today please permit me just to take a brief moment to reflect on his life and legacy. Much has been said in the media and on other platforms about this outstanding businessman, entrepreneur, whose philanthropic contributions were indeed monumental.”
Mr. Banks spoke about Mr. Lake’s legacy for the sustainable growth of the indigenous business sector; his community-minded disposition; his generous donations and contributions which spanned every facet of the community without seeking any accolades or any public acknowledgement. “That speaks volumes about the humility and character of the man to whom we are paying our last respects,” he went on. “It is therefore fitting that Albert Lake, MBE, OBE was awarded the Anguilla Badge of Honour and the Queen’s Certificate in 2008 for his outstanding contribution to Anguilla – a place he was proud to call home.”
The Chief Minister was pleased with the gratitude and appreciation shown by the people of Anguilla for all that Mr. Lake had done for their island. He added: “As a mark of respect to him, flags were flown an half-mast on Thursday, November 30, and Friday, December 1, 2017. Today, a National Funeral is being held in recognition of his memory; a Police Guard of Honour is in attendance and a contingent of uniformed officers is on hand to bear his body in and out of the church and to the gravesite. The casket is draped with the National Flag. I believe this is a humble, yet fitting, tribute to a great Anguillian whose commitment to national development has helped to shape the Anguilla we have today.
“It is our hope that this collective demonstration of national respect accorded to the late Mr. Albert Lake will bring much comfort to his grieving family. To his dear wife, Octavia, children, extended family and loved ones, we pray God’s guiding and comfort during these very difficult moments and the months and years to come.
“May his soul rest in perpetual peace. May God bless you all and may God bless Anguilla.”
The Chief Minister’s statement was followed by the playing of the National Anthem and National Song by the Police /Community Band and the actual commencement of the funeral service.
The Formal Remberance was delivered by Mrs. Donna Banks.
The officiating Clergy were The Rt. Rev. Errol Brooks; the Very Rev. Rudolph Smithen (Dean Emeritus); the Venerable Franklin Reid; Rev. Menes Hodge and Rev. Dr. Wycherley Gumbs, Methodist Superintendent Minister, who extended condolences to Mr. Lake’s family on behalf of the Anguilla Methodist Circuit and the Anguilla Christian Council.
In delivering the sermon Bishop Brooks said in part: “We have come to give thanks to Almighty God for the life of our brother, Albert Applebaum, and to bid him farewell. We know that he was ill for some time. During that time, we witnessed the loving care and attention given to him by his dear wife, children, and other caregivers. We thank God that through their care and attention he experienced God’s love until the end. His time of illness must have helped them to prepare themselves for his death but, even so, his wife and children and other members of his family must find this a difficult time. We assure you of our prayerful support. We encourage you to keep faith in God. He is a God of comfort and will provide the strength for each day ahead.”

Speaking about the Christian hope, the Bishop gave the assurance that death was a passing from one life to another. “So family, do not think for one moment that all is lost,” he further stated. “The best is yet to come. I admonish you to commit your lives to God. Albert is a child of God. He was anxious for the Hand of God and His work in his life. True, he may not have followed the guiding of the Hand all the time but there were times, like all of us, when he missed the mark. Nevertheless, he was aware of the presence of God. He knew that it was not by his own strength that he was able to accomplish all of his goals. Small wonder he never gave up being a steward of God’s creation, tilling the soil and rejoicing in the fruits of the earth. He revelled in showing his produce.
“Because of God’s presence in his life, he refused to engage in a crab-like behaviour – that is preventing others from aspiring to reach their God-given potential. He helped people to improve their condition in life. He was one to encourage his people and sought the best for them and for Anguilla. He had a passion for the less fortunate. He supported the work of God and His church in a handsome way. He was industrious. He disliked seeing young people idling. His simple but profound words of wisdom will ring in our ears for a very long time… We, who are left behind, need to emulate Albert in a way that we count it a joy in helping others. Let us not look at our own interest at the expense of others, but try to help people to find their way along life’s road. Albert was a great man: not because of wealth, fame or power, but because of his life of service and sacrifice for his people and Anguilla.”

Following the conclusion of the National Funeral Service, Mr. Lake’s body, followed by a huge procession, was driven to the burial site at Shoal Bay for interment in a Mausoleum which is still in course of completion. It is situated on land formerly owned by Mr. Lake and used by him to graze his cattle just above his quarry business. The Mausoleum, when completed, will be an attractive and national landmark in Anguilla in full view by travellers to and from Shoal Bay, one of the world’s best beaches.

– Nat Hodge

anguillian
By anguillian December 11, 2017 11:07 Updated

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