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Moved to tears

Little Jonathan Gittens’ face was a picture of pride today as he got the honour of pinning the boutonnière on Sir Wesley Hall, as his alma mater, St. Giles Primary, honoured him today. The smile bestowed on the lad by Sir Wes was enough to ensure that feeling of euphoria would remain for some time.

Former West Indian pace bowler, Sir Wesley Hall, returned to his old school, St. Giles Primary, the Ivy, St. Michael, and said the atmosphere in the assembly hall moved him to tears.

In the presence of a packed hall, the Sir Wesley stressed that there is no doubt that St. Giles was still the best.

He said: “This year when I was knighted, I spoke to the students at the graduation at Combermere School; I spoke to the old scholars’ association at Combermere; and I travelled to New York to speak to the old scholars, but they were adults, they were older folk, most of them had attended school with me, most of them had even taught me and therefore I was very glad to see them. However, this morning I wish to say that this whole atmosphere is so moving to me, it actually moved me to tears because you are so young and so vibrant. It is a truism that there is a glimpse of God in everyone of you young people.”

Sir Wesley acknowledged that the foundation which he received at St. Giles served him so well that when he went on to Combermere on a free scholarship, the values taught at St. Giles stayed with him throughout his life.

He identified such surviving teachers as Mrs. Carrington, Mr. Gilkes and Mr. Wilson as individuals who had assisted in shaping his personality.

Sir Wesley recalled that he attended St. Giles in 1941 when he was only four years old and he identified the locations of the classes in the school hall.

He further recalled that in those days students attended primary school until they were 14 years unless they went on to the secondary level.

Sir Wesley said: “I must say I really loved the days that I have had at St. Giles. I want to thank the principal and indeed the teachers for being so good to me over the years. I want you to know that I love you too.”He recalled that in 1957 he walked up the steps to the platform and was rather bemused because as a boy the platform seemed to be a hundred feet high.

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