Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Scores bid farewell to student pilot

Published:Wednesday | November 30, 2016 | 11:00 AM

PORT ANTONIO, Portland:

Hundreds turned out on Sunday for a thanksgiving service at Boundbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portland for student pilot Ramone Forbes, who died at hospital following a plane crash on November 10.

his flight instructor, Jonathan Worton, along with another student pilot, 19-year-old Dansheer Gilmore also perished in the crash.

Tears flowed as Forbes was fondly remembered for determination, dedication, and passion for not only becoming a pilot, but also the active role played by him at Priestman's River Seventh-day Adventist Church as a youth leader and a pathfinder.

"We are very proud of the strides made by our young people," said Pastor Adlai Blythe.

"Forbes was a part of the graduating class of Master Guides last June. He was a very active young man at home, his church and across at North East Jamaica Conference.

Founder and chief executive officer of the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre (CATC), Captain Errol Stewart, labelled all three victims as his sons, who he said were destined for a bright future.

"I lost three sons and it is not easy picking up the pieces," he said.

"However, the joy for me is that the Almighty selected three of my finest pilots. For this reason, I am happy as they went on to the Almighty airline. When he came to CATC, all I saw was a bright smile on his face. From that day on, Forbes was referred to as 'Smiley'. Let us, instead, reflect on the joy and passion that he has left behind," Stewart noted.

SCHOLARSHIP IN HISHONOUR

According to Stewart, a scholarship will be launched in honour of Forbes, noting that a past student of Titchfield High School who shared the same pain, passion, vision and love for aviation, will be selected for the scholarship.

Ramone died just two weeks shy of his 18th birthday. He grew up in the rural district of Castle in Priestman's River, Portland. As early as age three, he developed a love and interest in aircraft.

Forbe's aunt Judith Miller, in delivering the eulogy, said while in high school Ramone's book covers were used to make toy planes.

"In 2011, he enrolled in a mentorship programme at the Ian Fleming International Airport. At his graduation, his father and brother had the chance to fly with him over Boscobel and Ocho Rios. In 2013, he enrolled in the same mentorship programme at Tinson Pen where he travelled to every day. While enrolled at CATC, he was the youngest in his class. He enrolled at the Mico University College as a computer science student in 2016, but it was never his dream as he would always maintained that he was a pilot, not a teacher," said Miller.

rural@gleanerjm.com