Inside the Region & WICB News
Date Published: 2020-08-07
Region & WICB News
Family tribute to Sir Everton Weekes - by Adrian Donovan
Bridgetown, Barbados, August 7 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Following is a family tribute by Adrian "Ockie" Donovan, BSc, BA, GM, at the official funeral service of Barbados and West Indies batting great, Sir Everton Weekes, at Kensington Oval on Thursday, July 30:
Everyone knows about Sir Everton’s exploits on the field, however, the great man enjoyed himself among a select few as he was a very private person.
Today we celebrate the wonderful memories of the last of the 3W’s commonly referred to as ‘Shorty’ by those who were close to him.
Not only is he the last member of the 3W’s that has left us but he was also the last member of what was called the Ernest Boyce Watering Hole Team.
In fact, this particular group of men would gather at the bottom of St. Lawrence Gap where the site of the old watering hole shop is still located.
This particular group included such persons as Ernest Weir, Roger Blackman, Harley Moseley, Jim “Puss” Parris, Jimmy Smith, Sam Griffith and E. A. V. Williams and my father, former Superintendent of Prisons, Billy Donovan.
Discussions were sometime fierce, robust, bombastic and at times very jovial depending on the subject of the day which could range from Spartan to Empire battles, West Indies and Australia and Barbados and Trinidad rivalries.
This group would meet anytime after work during the week and it was a waste of time for wives or other members of the family trying to interrupt any of these sessions.
It must also be mentioned that he was a humanitarian of enormous proportions. After he retired from cricket, he made it his business to visit his dear friend Billy Donovan in Maxwell Gardens every Christmas Day.
This activity on Christmas Day included some of the best-behaved prisoners who were called Trustees and were housed at the then Glendairy Prison located in Station Hill and were treated to a delicious luncheon.
Sir Everton would specially bake a ham for the occasion and brought along some packs of trumpeters which were the cigarettes of the day. He would discuss with them after the meal about living the good life, taking care of the family and being a productive member of society.
Very few people knew of the humanitarian side of him because he selected who he wanted to be his inner circle.
At home he and Andi (Sir Everton’s son) had some battles over who was the best cook in the house and many a time he would remind Andi that he is the only chef in the house especially when it came to him cooking his favourite dish of steam flying fish and plain rice with a special daddy sauce. This is what he prepared for himself before leaving to go and play cricket on a Saturday afternoon.
Andi would complain that whenever his father was umpiring that when the ball hit his pads that Sir Everton would give him out all the time. Things came to a head one time when Andi couldn’t take it anymore and asked Sir Everton “Dad, why whenever the ball hits my pads, you always giving me out?” Sir Everton in his calm and polite manner told him “son, the pads are for protection of one’s feet and nothing else. That is why you have a bat. End of story.
Sir Everton also enjoyed many a day while playing for his club Empire. Quite often he reminded “Guinea” Yearwood that he could not take the field of play in those dirty socks that he continued to wear match after match.
He took his captaincy very seriously so much so that he put “Guinea” as twelfth man until he appreciated better deportment.
But how can I forget to mention that when “Sparky” Blackman made his debut for the Empire First team his mother gave him a pretty cap to play in. It was only when leaving the dressing room that Sir Everton saw “Sparky” in this jockey cap and told him that the Garrison Savannah is where that cap would be best suited. If you want to be a jockey call Sir David Seale. “Sparky” wanted to play so bad that he did the right thing by taking the field bareheaded.
Sir Everton entertained many a national player at his house who would drop by seeking advice and just to have a conversation on how to improve their game. He was always accommodating and never for one moment discouraged anyone from reaching for the stars.
He never received any formal coaching during his time as he would say he came through the New Orleans Community Academy which included members of the Community who all deemed themselves as cricket experts.
Sir Everton like many of our great cricketers some of who are here today all share the sense of humility and in a tiny island of Barbados we should be appreciative.
A couple weeks ago I had a feeling that the fatal day was soon coming was when he told me that he wanted to see his girl soon and I questioned of which girl he meant, he asked for Mia. He wanted to see his girl as matter of urgency.
Today the Royal Barbados Police Band would be playing his favourite song while he is to be laid to rest. The song is called Take 5 performed by Dave Brubreck and this is how he would like to be remembered.
Let me on behalf of the family express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Barbados for granting him this official ceremony and especially to all those who have assisted. Thanks to Brian Lara who remained in Barbados for this occasion.
Let us celebrate this day and remember “Shorty” who lived just around the corner here in Pickwick Gap and who made Kensington his second home. As he leaves us, he would continue his partnership up on the hill at UWI where he will be reunited with his two comrades who made all of us proud.
I could not finish without saying that on a visit to the bank while we were waiting to be seen by the Manager, a visitor spotted Sir Everton and wanted his autograph. There was a young Bajan boy who overheard the conversation and wanted to know if the 3Ws that he heard about being discussed was the three branches of Western Union. The little lad informed us that the branches were at Sheraton, Sky Mall and Carlisle House. Sir Everton could only laugh and called him over, shook his hand, told him who he was and told him to go home and tell his parents that “you met a man from Western Union”. That was the kind of person and fun-loving individual that we all should remember him as.
Perhaps, this poem sums up the message that my godfather leaves with us:
The Journey of My Life
It was beautiful as long as it lasted, the journey of my life.
I have no regrets whatsoever
save the pain I’ll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care …
and the strings pulling at the heart and soul …
The strong arms that held me up
when my own strength let me down.
At every turning of my life I came across good friends,
friends who stood by me
even when time raced by me.
Farewell, farewell my friend.
I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears for I need them not.
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad do think of me for that’s what I’ll like.
When you live in the hearts of those you love
remember then, you never die.
Rest in peace and rise in glory Shorty !!
Editor’s note: Sir Everton died at his home, Chancery Lane, Christ Church, on July 1, at the age of 95.
Up until his passing, Weekes was the oldest West Indies Test cricketer.
Sir Everton 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).