Edwin Atherley loved the sea. It is therefore ironic that this is where he met his death.
The 69-year old went missing yesterday afternoon after he went swimming in the waters off the Ermie Bourne Highway, St Joseph. His body was discovered this afternoon after it washed ashore not far from where he went missing.
Family members, though in mourning, are breathing a sigh of relief that his body has been found.
Atherley’s granddaughter, Kelly-Ann Drayton-Archer, told Barbados TODAY her family was still trying to come to grips with the tragedy, which marred the annual east coast excursion hosted by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
“It’s really hard because until you find the body you can’t believe the person is gone. So now that we have it, it gives us a little closure. But it’s still hard because we were expecting that he would be ok,” she said.
Drayton-Archer, visibly sad and exhausted, said she and others members of her family started to search on their own this morning, but due to the overwhelming nature of the situation and the mid-afternoon heat, they suspended the search early.
“We were up and down the beach but we got exhausted because we were searching from after 11 a.m. straight until after 12 p.m. My aunt told me she couldn’t take anymore and wanted to go because she had a headache,” she explained, while sending out a heartfelt thank you to the four young men who found the body and alerted the police.
Atherley’s granddaughter said he was a strong BLP supporter and attended the annual picnic for the first time last year.
Earlier today BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott extended “heartfelt condolences” on behalf of the party to Atherley’s loved ones, family and friends.
“The sudden loss of any life is tragic and is something one can never be prepared for. Because of this, when such incidents occur it deeply affects those left behind. This is why as a party we grieve with those who were close to Mr Atherley,” Dr Walcott added in a statement issued in response to the untimely death of the party supporter.
Atherley’s brother Whitfield Robinson and his sister-in-law Angela Rawlins described him as a cool guy who would be missed terribly.
“He loved the sea. He loved to fish but wasn’t a fisherman. He would find anything around here to fix. It’s painful because it’s so sudden but you try to cope with it,” Robinson said of the former employee of the National Petroleum Corporation.