Inside the Region & WICB News
Date Published: 2020-07-30
Region & WICB News
Tribute to the life of Sir Everton Weekes by BCA president Conde Riley
Bridgetown, Barbados, July 30 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Following is a tribute by president of the Barbados Cricket Association, Conde Riley, at the official funeral service of Barbados and West Indies batting great, Sir Everton Weekes, at Kensington Oval on Thursday, July 30.
Sir Everton was an iconic figure with a special gravitas.
Often spoken of in terms seemingly larger than life but in reality a warm, humble soul; the July 1st passing of Sir Everton DeCourcey Weekes, KCMG at age 95 remains a sad day.
As the tributes pour in from all corners of the globe, there is no doubt that Sir Everton stands as a standard of excellence. Indeed, the Barbados Cricket Association’s youth development programme – which has nurtured all current Windies players – bears the name The Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence.
He remains the standard bearer.
In a 20-year first class career from 1944 to 1964, Sir Everton used Test cricket’s international stage between 1948 and 1958 to forever establish himself as one of cricket’s finest players. A member of the famed 3Ws alongside fellow knights Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott, his performances within the West Indies top order batting helped to found West Indies cricket as one of international sport’s first ‘box office’ draws.
After racing to 1,000 Test runs in his first 12 innings – an achievement shared with Herbert Sutcliffe – Sir Everton went on to record feats yet to be surpassed, the most prominent being his five Test centuries in consecutive innings.
Put into perspective, after 70 years and over 2,000 Test matches later this amazing feat still remains, bearing testimony of how a talent bestowed is best nurtured.
When Sir Everton retired from Test cricket in 1958 at the age of 32, he ended with 4,455 runs from 48 matches with an imperious batting average of 58.61 runs.
The period of the 1950s was crucial for the post-colonial world and the contribution of West Indies cricket to the movement of political independence and democracy in the Caribbean is a direct result of the excellence embodied in the performance and character of Sir Everton and his contemporaries.
Men of focused mind and resolute action, the cricketing exploits of Sir Everton and his peers helped to shore up a sense of self belief in generations of Caribbean people both at home and across the diaspora.
After ending his first-class career in 1964, Barbados’ second black captain continued to serve his country and the sport in almost every conceivable capacity both at home and abroad: manager, coach, selector, BCA board member and ICC match referee.
Sir Everton’s sharp mind also saw him become an avid bridge player, who represented Barbados. Further testimony at his impeccable ability to flourish within a partnership.
Amidst the achievements, resulting awards and recognition, it is perhaps Sir Everton’s gracious, yet engaging character that endeared him to so many. Sir Everton was a gentleman; with a sharp intellect, witty and encouraging.
No matter your position or personality, if you showed an interest or asked a question he took the time. Everyone who had the privilege of his time is undoubtedly richer for those experiences.
Too numerous are his awards. Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1995 Sir Everton was also bestowed, Barbados’ Gold Crown of Merit (GCM) and Order of the British Empire (OBE).
The stand at the northern end of the renowned Kensington Oval bears the name ‘3Ws’, as does The University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus’ redeveloped cricket ground ‘The 3Ws Oval’.
The UWI Cave Hill Campus in 2003 conferred on Sir Everton an Honorary Doctorate.
The BCA named its schools’ Under 13 competition after him and its final is played at his home club - the famous and storied Empire Club (at Bank Hall).
These are but a few of the local accolades and acknowledgements bestowed on Sir Everton.
Undoubtedly, more are yet to come both at home and abroad.
Sir Everton has ended his long vigil. Just five years shy of a century the world would have loved to celebrate with him.
However, we will comfort each other with the joy of having experienced him and the excellence of his example.
May God bless and keep his family.
I take the opportunity this morning on behalf of the Directors, Management, Staff and Membership of the Barbados Cricket Association to extend condolences to the family and close friends of our beloved Sir Everton.
Rest in peace Sir Everton.