No tears were shed Friday morning as family members, friends, cricket enthusiasts and members of music fraternity met at the James Street Methodist Church to bid farewell to one of Barbados’ finest musicians and humanitarians, Irvin Harris.
However, the church came alive Friday as the moderate crowd was treated to beautiful singing by the St Thomas Community Choir, The Church Choir and a brilliant rendition of My Life Is In Your Hand by Akilah Lashley of the Ellerslie Secondary School choir.
In his eulogy former Ellerslie principal Sylvester Niles said that Harris, who was the former games master with responsibility for cricket development and the teaching of music throughout the school, has left an indelible legacy and has made a significant and matchless contribution to the development of young cricketers.
Niles also credited Harris with providing opportunities for the players to travel to some of our neighbouring islands to compete and interact with regional school teams. He also invited teams to Barbados and encamped them at Ellerslie to play against the local side.
Niles recalled that a youthful Brian Lara, who later became a cricketing legend, was among the players who visited Ellerslie School.
He also pointed out that former Ellerslie students, Carlyle Best, Sherwin Campbell, Philo Wallace, Ottis Gibson and Sulieman Benn, who later represented Barbados and the West Indies, benefited a great deal from Harris’ efforts to improve their skills and knowledge of the game.
Highlighting the humanitarian side of Harris, Niles said he gave players who performed well monetary awards as incentives. He also purchased cricket gear for players who did not have the means to do so.
This level of support for the cricket team continued into his retirement, Niles added.
The former principal therefore saw it fit that the school had named a pavilion in Harris’ honour, given his generosity and commitment to enhancing the life of communities, which did not stop at the boundaries of the school, but extended as far as St Thomas, where he willingly accepted the position of organist for the St Thomas Community Choir.
Harris passed away on Valentine’s Day after a brief illness at age 88.