Former groundsman and porter Bill Forde served under five principals at the Lodge School, never wavering in his diligence to the institution.
After completing 38 years and six months of service, he bade farewell to the school in 1970.
It was for that dedication that he was named among half a dozen people rewarded yesterday for their contribution to St John. The awards were issued in the name of the late Prime Minister and St John representative David Thompson.
“He was revered by the students and hailed by many as ‘a faithful servant, an institution within the institution’,” the citation for Forde stated.
Also recognized was veteran educator Wendy Antrobus, who retired on September 1 this year after serving almost 42 years in the teaching service. She spent 33 of those years educating children in the parish.
Another honouree was Margaret Marshall, who ended her 31 year service in law ewnforcement in 2011.
She was awarded for “her excellent years of service within the Royal Barbados Police Force”.
The other awardees were attorney-at-law Sukeena Maynard, young entrepreneur Alian Olliviere, and entertainer and multiple award winner Dario Walrond.
Speaking prior to handing out the awards during the church service at the Unity Wesleyan Church at Edge Cliff, St John, Mara Thompson, widow of the late prime minister, registered disappointment that one of his visions did not appear to be making headway.
Speaking just days ahead of the fourth anniversary of his death, the current Member of Parliament for St John said her deceased husband believed in socializing and building communities.
However, she said this did not appear to be happening.
”Today I can say that I have witnessed the impact of the decline in that connectedness. I was there to see the project he was constructing. I was intimately involved as a doer. From the chair that I now occupy, I have come to appreciate even deeper, his ideals for a stronger community. By community, I’m not just referring to a geographically defined locale but I speak about an ideology that should help drive our future endeavours,” the widow said.
“This country must never find itself just existing with individuals living within a small space but losing the essence of community. I’ve said this before that the advent of technology has brought us together by ensuring that we actually spend less time being together. But technology is not the lone perpetrator in all of this.”
As she concluded her short speech, Thompson issued some advice to Barbadians, and the ruling Democratic Labour Party in particular.
“. . . Let us continue to ensure that we seek to build those strong ties among ourselves and seek to extend our community. With this objective in mind, I know the dream of my late husband has hope.”
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was absent from the service, reportedly due to another commitment.
Some of the MP’s present included John Boyce, Denis Kellman, Richard Sealy, Ronald Jones and James Paul.