Sir Branford Mayhew Taitt was immortalized yesterday as a man of many moods that were captured in an eclectic display of tributes.
They began in a slide-show that preceded the official service at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, in which Sir Branford was shown as a fresh-faced youngster working at Cable & Wireless in the 1950s, becoming a New York-based diplomat, joining the Cabinet of late National Hero Errol Walton Barrow, and sharing light moments with family members and friends who included Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the late Prime Minister David Thompson.
This display of his years of service – described by Anglican Bishop of Barbados and Archbishop of the West Indies Dr John Holder as “the ray of light that shone in his life” – was second only to the variety of hymns and songs rendered by those who flocked to the Gymnasium and later the graveside of his beloved St Leonard’s Anglican Church.
The fact that he loved to sing, having organized an annual Good Friday choral event out of which came the Good Friday Choir, was evident in the musical tributes by the Royal Barbados Police Band, Colin Spencer, Mya Daniel and G-Syndicate among others, along with his daughter Monique Taitt’s vocal rendition of Wind Beneath My Wings accompanied by ace pianist Nicholas Brancker.
And from the congregation came O Lord My God (How Great Thou Art), Who Would True Valour See, Psalm 27, Sir Branford’s favourite, Oh Jesus I Have Promised, And Can It Be, along with the graveside hymns Blessed Assurance, When Peace Like A River and Amazing Grace; while the acclaimed St Leonard’s Boys’ Choir rendered The Ash Grove.
These combined to reflect a celebration of life moreso than the mourning of a lost loved one, and climaxed with the Combermere School Song being raised by Dean Emeritus Harold Crichlow.
After giving the closing prayer, Crichlow said he had to “pause for a Combermere moment” before breaking into the quasi-military rallying song Up And On. He was lustily joined by old scholars including Kerry-Ann Ifill, Vallan Franklin, Junior Jordan, and legendary West Indies fast bowler Sir Wesley Hall, Sir Branford’s friend of 65 years.
Crichlow was one of a battery of officiating clergymen that included Rev. Jeffrey Gibson, Rev. George Harewood, Canon Ivor Harewood, Monsignor Vincent Blackett and Rev. Dr Marcus Lashley.
Sir Branford, the political stalwart and former President of the Senate, died on February 15 at the age of 74. (RJ)