The burial of blair
Final farewell to Dr Lawrence Bannister
Funerals can often be extremely sad occasions, with flowing tears and distraught relatives trying to make sense of the death of loved ones.
But funerals are also occasions for glowing and moving tributes and telling eulogies.
Today, at the St Andrew Parish Church, St Andrew, a moving tribute was paid to medical practitioner, poet, dairy farmer and metalwork artist Dr Lawrence Blair Bannister as family, friends and former colleagues in medicine and the arts gathered to say their last good byes.
His granddaughter Anika Griffith recalled the happy moments she spent with him during her summer holidays in Barbados; the visits to the beach and Baxters Road and the lessons he taught her.
“He often took me to the beach and visited the East Coast. I looked forward to these summer visits. He would take me to Baxters Road, the City for fish and chips. He would teach me the importance of Latin to the understanding of the English Language and expose me to Greek mythology,” Griffith said as she relived the memories. “We would even enjoy star gazing.”
During a two-hour service following which the body was interred in the church’s cemetery several leading personalities including historian Trevor Marshall spoke of his “brilliant mind” and his creativity.
Dr Oscar Jordan is one of Barbados’ leading medical practitioners. In delivering the eulogy he spoke about Dr Bannister’s intellect and “fertile imagination” and described him as a genius.
“Lance, as he was familiarly called embodied a brilliant mind, a fertile imagination, an indomitable spirit and a great capacity for endeavour. It would not be unfair for me to say that he had eccentricities, but that is the terrain of geniuses and their ilk,” Dr. Jordan recalled.
He took the congregation on a journey through the dead poet’s road to his medical degree, from his graduation from Harrison College on to the then University College of the West Indies where he was among the earliest medical graduates of the new faculty, graduating in 1955 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree.
Dr Jordan also spoke of his deceased relative’s love of writing, telling the congregation that Dr Bannister had “volunteered that writing allowed him to give expression to his classical training.”
He described the publication Talking Tree as a genealogical and autobiographical expose of the extended Jordan family, recalling that it won the Prime Minister’s Award at the 2009 Frank Collymore Literary Awards, and that Dr Bannister had also received a Gold Crown of Merit award at independence last year in recognition of his contribution to medicine, Barbadian literature and art. And there was the designation of this metal museum at Perry Gap, St Michael as a UNESCO World Heritage site also for his contribution to art. (NC)