Sir Frank Worrell’s legacy to be honored

The legacy of one of the world’s greatest cricketers, Sir Frank Worrell of Barbados, will be honored in Trinidad and Tobago this weekend.

Launched by the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Committee, the year of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the former West Indies cricket captain’s passing will be centered around a lecture by legendary Trinidadian broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald, who was himself knighted in 1999 for his services to journalism.

Sir Frank, who died at 42 in 1967, is remembered as more than a world-class cricketer.

“He was intelligent, well-educated and possessed diplomatic skills, all of which he used effectively to promote the spirit of regionalism in the game of cricket and in wider elements of Caribbean society,” said Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Committee in a statement on Wednesday.

The committee said Sir Frank’s helmsmanship was captured by Trinidadian historian Cyril Lionel Robert James in a 1967 article in The Cricketer, entitled “Sir Frank Worrell: The Man Whose Leadership Made History.”

James: “If his reserve permitted it, this remarkable intelligence could be seen in his views of West Indian society. To us who were concerned he seemed poised for applying his powers to the cohesion and self-realization of the West Indian people. Not a man whom one slapped on the shoulder, he was nevertheless to the West Indian population an authentic national hero.”

The article asserted Sir Frank’s “reputation for strong sympathies with the populace did him no harm and his firm adherence to what he thought was right-fitted him to exercise that leadership and gift for popularity which he had displayed so notably in the sphere of cricket.

“He had shown the West Indian mastery of what Western civilization had to teach,” it continued. “His wide experience, reputation, his audacity of perspective and the years which seemed to stretch before him fitted him to be one of those destined to help the West Indies to make their own West Indian way.”

Sir Trevor McDonald will deliver his lecture at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, March 10.

A commemorative dinner at the Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad, on Sat., March 11 will feature an address by Claire Kilner, Deputy Director and Head of Alumni and Donor Communications and Engagement at The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, where Sir Frank spent many happy years.

The Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Committee was formed in Trinidad and Tobago 10 years ago to honor the legendary West Indies captain “at a time when there was deepening public disenchantment with West Indies cricket,” the statement said.

Set up by a group of individuals associated with Sir Frank as co-workers, students at the Mona and St. Augustine campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI), or as teammates, and in varied other regional endeavors, the Committee draws the attention of the region’s younger generation to the story of Sir Frank’s life, with the hope that individuals will be encouraged to become better athletes and, eventually, leaders and role models in society.

The committee is a nonprofit organization that arranged a number of lectures, delivered by distinguished regional and international connoisseurs of the game.

It also presents the Noble Spirit Award to cricketers, administrators or other persons who have made significant contributions to cricket and who have demonstrated the values, principles and leadership skills that distinguished Sir Frank.

The committee’s annual Blood Donation Drive at the St. Augustine Campus of UWI in 2009 was launched with the assistance of Nari Contractor who, in 1962 as the captain of the visiting Indian Cricket Team, was felled by a bouncer and remained unconscious for almost a week in a hospital in Barbados.

“It is to be recalled that Sir Frank was one of the first to donate blood and encouraged others to do so, thus helping to save Contractor’s life,” the committee said.

As part of the celebrations this year, on the Committee’s 10th Anniversary, as well as the 50th anniversary of the passing of Sir Frank Worrell, experienced cricket journalist Vaneisa Baksh, will be supported to research and produce a comprehensive book on the life of Sir Frank, for which the committee is seeking interested sponsors.

The committee also said a partnership with UWI, St. Augustine (the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) will develop and commercialize a smartphone app on West Indies cricket history.

It will be in the form of an entertaining game to appeal to the younger generation and to increase their interest in the sport of cricket, the Committee said.

The committee is also considering an offer by an entrepreneur to launch a venture involving the development and commercializing of Limited Edition 3D printed figurines of Sir Frank in action on the field of play.

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