A force for good in St Michael
by Neville Clarke
David “Dotty” Oxley moved to Licorish Village, My Lord’s Hill, St Michael at a very tender age, and over four decades later he has emerged as one of its leading and most active community workers and nation builders.
Oxley was born in Venture, St John but was introduced to the culture and lifestyle of Licorish Village and later to Belle Tenantry in the same geographical area when he was only three.
No doubt the community influenced what he has become, and now he is giving back in the way he knows best. The father of three daughters and a son believes passionately in the old adaage, A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body, hence his commitment over the past seven years in ensuring that the members of his suburban community engage in regular exercise. Oxley has organized the annual My Lord’s Hill 5K race for the past seven years, and he told Barbados TODAY its objective was to bring the community together.
“You may be aware that everybody may not be interested in football or cricket. Therefore I decided that we could hold a road race every year and invite other people from outside the community to take part in it,” he said, adding that participants come from across the island.
“Even people from overseas come to Barbados to take part in the race. Last year we had a male participant from Toronto, Canada, who was the oldest participant in the race.” The event is held every second Sunday in October and has grown over the years, attracting close to 200 adult runners and 110 children this year. The children run a 2K because it was thought that a 5K would be too strenuous for them, the past student of the Belmont Primary School, Belle Gully, St Michael and St George Secondary School said.
“What I try to do is to encourage all the little children in the community to get out and get involved in sports such as bike riding and any exercise to keep their bodies in shape. “As long as I am alive I will continue staging the race and even when I die I have three daughters and a son who participate in the race so I will pass the baton to them and it will continue.” The community worker pointed out that the race is held in honour of the late Anthony Lovell who was a promoter of athletics in Barbados.
It starts in front of Lovell’s residence on My Lord’s Hill and ends at the National Sports Council where Lovell worked prior to his death. Pointing out that his commitment to his community did not end with the 5K race, Oxley told Barbados TODAY that he buys old bicycles, repairs them and takes them to the community so the children can ride. It might be fun to the boys and girls but Oxley sees it as another form of exercise.
“ I try to make exercise fun for them. I let them participate as a team in a race and when they complete that phase, I let them compete with the other teams. It is both exercise and fun,” said the bobcat operator and lorry driver. Oxley said he tried to be a force for good in his community by encouraging the young residents to pursue the “correct path” instead of a “path of lawlessness”. “In society you have the guns and fast motor-cycles. Children today are exposed to all kinds of anti-social behaviour.
I try to keep them together,” he said. Oxley is proud to boast that he neither drinks nor smokes and maintains a strict fitness regime. Every Wednesday he keeps a boot camp at Blenheim pasture where participants are encouraged to exercise and engage in physical activity.
And while it helps to keep him healthy, it also warms his heart to see a smile on people’s faces. “ I do not drink and I do not smoke. Everybody has their life to live, but I like to exercise. I also like to see people exercising and see people happy.”