The family of the late Bruce “Tony” Thomas, a well-known retired banker who worked in Barbados and other Caribbean countries with Barclay’s Bank when it operated in the region, has honoured his legacy.
They have started a trust fund in his name to assist in the fight against cancer in Barbados. Earlier this year, the former Christ Church resident lost his fight against prostate cancer.
Thomas also served as Vice President of Finance for the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 2008 to 2011, Deputy Chairman of the Barbados Port Authority from 1995 to 2001, and Chairman of the Barbados National Oil Company Ltd from April 1998 to January 2007.
On Tuesday, the family donated a cheque for $20,000 to the Barbados Cancer Society during a brief presentation at the society’s headquarters. Sharon Thomas, daughter of the late Combermerian, announced that the family was starting a Tony Thomas Cancer Fund.
“.… This is something that I would like to continue doing, little fundraisers to help bring awareness to men and to whatever is needed for the Cancer Society: testing kits, machines, whatever. The idea is to keep this growing,” she said.
Prior to the presentation, relatives described Tony as an unsung hero who gave willingly to charities and was always approachable and affectionate. Sharon, in her brief remarks, noted that if her father were alive, he would have loved to make the presentation to the Cancer Society himself.
“We held a fundraiser for my dad; he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and we were doing actually a medical fundraiser. Because it was prostate cancer, I felt within my heart to donate also to the Barbados Cancer Society, because it is something that my dad would have done if he was alive; he has always been giving to charities.”
The fundraiser was held in February, the same month that Thomas was laid to rest, but the donation was postponed until Tuesday.
Tony’s life-long commitment to serving others was reinforced as President of the Barbados Cancer Society, Dr Dorothy Cooke- Johnson, recalled his dedication to a number of organizations in Barbados and his pleasant, genial nature.
“This is what he wanted …. He was in every organization in Barbados, he was well known in banking and finance, he was so well known, so genial, so pleasant and so dominant that you just had to say Tony’s name and people would understand that if he stood for this, then it’s worthwhile standing for and to give him the backing that he and his family would need,” she said.
Dr Cooke-Johnson said the donation would help the organization immensely.
Mrs Hazel Thomas, Tony’s wife, gave a stern warning to men, advising them that they should get themselves checked and listen to their doctors. “I would always say [to] men please make sure that you are getting yourself checked; whatever the doctor tells you to do, make sure you do it. Follow his instructions and get your tests done, whatever he recommends,” she said.
Dr Cooke-Johnson noted that the Cancer Society’s new initiative where check-ups for men are available every second Saturday of the month has led to more men taking note of prostate cancer “instead of being introverted and not doing anything”.
“They are starting to come out and talk about it. I think talking about it is very important and sharing experiences. They can do that here,” she said.