Inside the Region & WICB News
Date Published: 2020-07-30
Region & WICB News
King: Sir Everton was “mentor, statesman, leader, father figure”
Bridgetown, Barbados, July 30 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Empire Club president Adrian King has described iconic Barbados and West Indies batsman Sir Everton Weekes as “a mentor, a statesman, a leader, a father figure, a bastion of historical and factual knowledge which will be irreplaceable”.
King’s remarks came in a tribute at the official funeral service of Sir Everton at Kensington Oval on Thursday, July 30.
Following is King’s tribute:
The inimitable Sir Everton DeCourcey Weekes was an integral and central part of our Empire family. Not only was he an Honorary Life Member and Life Vice President but he acted as our Patron on many occasions. He was the ultimate larger than life grand-father figure for many of us at the Club. There was no act of service that too great or small for his beloved Empire.
His monumental feats on the cricket field will be the subject of many commentators’ perspectives and analysis but as we say farewell to this Giant it is noteworthy that, to us at Empire, Sir Everton was much more than an exceptional Test Cricketer. He was a mentor, a statesman, a leader, a father figure, a bastion of historical and factual knowledge which will be irreplaceable.
He exuded class, confidence and tremendous intellect in every aspect of his life, but the attributes which truly defined Sir Everton were his humility, indelible wit and charm. Any interaction with Sir Everton was one which you would seldom forget. A conversation with Sir Everton was one where he was always teaching, and if you were listening, you couldn’t help but learn something at the feet of the master.
In fact, if you listened closely to what he was saying when he was speaking, his command not only of the English language but also of any subject matter on which he spoke was very similar to the manner in which he reportedly approached an innings ... with balance, structure and control.
Balance, timing and exquisite grace were the hallmarks of Sir Everton not only as a world renowned Test batsman but also as an orator and a human being. He was truly the personification of class!
One of my early interactions with Sir Everton was as a teenager accompanying my father to “Miami beach” (officially named Enterprise beach) where from time to time he would meet Sir Everton for morning walks and swims.
On that particular morning a walk ending at the eastern end of the beach was followed by a swim which paused in an area where none of us were able to stand.
Sir Everton explained that this was one of the most important aspects of his exercise regime. While not swimming or exerting oneself in any onerous way all the muscles and the brain were still being engaged. This activity was much like being at the wicket - you might not be making any runs, but you were still at the wicket remaining engaged in the process.
The conversation continued for a while thereafter and ended at a time where the tide had taken us from the eastern end of the beach to the area exactly where our belongings were situated. I had not realized the tide brought us to this opportune point.
As we were walking onto the shore and I commented on the irony of the timing he chuckled and explained to me that very little had happened by accident but that the tide that brought us back to this point was much like life and family. Sometimes you are being helped along and you don’t even realize it. Those words also happened to be a complete summary of the conversation we had been having that morning. He was a master teacher and a class act. Years later, they both reminded me of that morning and I learnt another life lesson, about the real meeting before the meeting. Another story for another day!
In 2014 when we celebrated our centennial year at Empire, Sir Everton without hesitation agreed to be the Patron of the year of celebration. He was excited about many of the planned events for the year and participated in every event without fail.
He was, however, most excited about our tour to London and I was pleasantly surprised when he let me know in no uncertain terms that he would definitely accompany the contingent to London. He attended every cricket game and social event and was always full of advice for all players. His trademark wit, smile and chuckle were ever present.
During the tour, Sir Everton pulled me aside and indicated that he hoped I would allow him to break the protocol of the tour and allow him two days leave. He shared with me that he had been in contact with his landlady who had hosted him in Lancashire where he had played professional cricket, and who was still alive. She had arranged for her son to collect him in London so that he could spend a few days with the family and old friends who had been so gracious to him during his time in the leagues. He never forgot anyone, that was the measure of the man.
On reflecting on Sir Everton’s life and association with Empire Club, there is no doubt that he was truly the embodiment of the history of Empire and what the Club represents. His humble beginnings and his rise to world prominence were demonstrative of the fact that there was no barrier preventing young Barbadians from attaining any major achievement either at home or on the world stage.
We are acutely aware that we are truly blessed to walk among and be associated with our heroes like Sir Everton and to have the gift of their time, their presence and the benefit of their tremendous experience. At Empire we always are humbled by the fact that we stand on the shoulders of Giants! They have instilled and continue to instill in us the value system of what it means to represent the Mighty Blues and never to forget who and what we stand for.
As we pay attention to the significant social and political upheavals currently occurring worldwide, it must not be lost on us as a people as Barbadians and West Indians, that when your heroes look like you and talk like you and have time to mentor you ... success is almost guaranteed. It almost becomes embedded in your DNA.
The true greats like Sir Everton represent the reality for us that there is nothing that is unachievable on any stage whether it is in the sporting arena or any other area of life.
Our fortuitous association with Sir Everton at Empire resonates in the successes we have achieved as a Club on and off the field for over a century. We are forever indebted and grateful to him for the time he spent with us and the invaluable lessons which he taught us.
On behalf of the Trustees, the Committee of Management, the members of Empire Club and my family, I extend to Sir Everton’s family and friends our deepest condolences on his passing.
We will truly miss our Patron Saint at Empire Club. May He Rest In Peace.
M. Adrian King QC
Editor’s note: Sir Everton Weekes played 48 Test matches between January 21, 1948 and March 31, 1958. He scored 4455 runs including 15 centuries and 19 half-centuries, at an average of 58.61. His highest score was 207. He also took 49 catches.
In 152 first-class matches, Weekes amassed 12010 runs with 36 hundreds and 54 half-centuries including a highest of 304 (ave: 55.34).