The journalism fraternity turned out in their numbers this morning to celebrate the life of and say farewell to the late Charles Harding, a stalwart of Barbadian journalism who contributed immensely to the success of the Nation newspaper from its fragile inception
A who’s who of Barbadian journalism, representing every media house, turned up for the 10 a.m. funeral service at the St Matthias Anglican Church, Christ Church yesterday. The list included Barbados TODAY CEO and Editor-in-Chief Kaymar Jordan, Nation Editor Emeritus Harold Hoyte; and Nation Editor-in-Chief Roy Morris.
Sir Fred Gollop, chairman of ONE Caribbean Media, the parent company of the Nation, was also there, as were former Caribbean News Agency (CANA) general manager Harry Mayers; Al Gilkes, who was a reporter with Harding at the inception of the Nation, veteran journalists Rickey Singh and Ridley Green and international cricket journalist, Tony Cozier.
Also paying last respects were Appeals Court Judge, Madame Justice Sandra Mason; former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Cabinet minister Sir Louis Tull, 10-times calypso monarch of Barbados Red Plastic Bag, who is married to Harding’s daughter and former West Indies opening batsman, Cammie Smith.
In his eulogy, Nation founding member and former circulation manager Stephen Brathwaite recalled that Harding was among a group of enterprising young Barbadians, including Hoyte, Gilkes, Carl Moore, and the late Trevor “Job” Clark, who founded the Nation, which began as a weekly newspaper operating out of cramped, humble premises on St Mary’s Row, The City.
Brathwaite recalled that Harding, who had worked previously as a journalist with the Caribbean service of the international news agency, Reuters, was the fledgling paper’s first news editor and used his prodigious knowledge to establish the publication as this island’s leading newspaper, overtaking the Advocate who formerly dominated the market.
“Harding made a significant contribution to the Nation newspaper,” Brathwaite said. “He was a hard working journalist who was always looking out for the next scoop. He set himself the highest standards and gave much attention to detail. He also trained scores of young journalists during his long career.”
In his sermon, Rector of St Matthias, The Revd. Hugh Sandiford, described Harding as a great Barbadian whose life was rooted in the identity of Jesus Christ. He also noted Harding’s contribution to the church as a pioneer of the quarterly Anglican newspaper and contended that it was through his journalistic skills, that the paper became the success that it is today.
Fr. Sandiford also said that throughout his long career, Harding remained very passionate about journalism and sought perfection through it. He read letters from Anglican Bishop of Barbados and Archbishop of the West Indies, Dr John Holder, who is off island, and former Anglican Bishop of Barbados, Dr. Rufus Brome, expressing heartfelt condolences to Harding’s widow Janet and children.
Harding, who died a week ago at the age of 73, was interred at the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens, Christ Church.