Sat | Sep 22, 2018

A great man departs

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp/Gleaner Writer
Deon Hemmings-McCatty (left) receiving an award from the late Pat Anderson at the Central Hurdles and Relays meet at G.C. Foster College in 2009.
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Deon Hemmings-McCatty, the 1996 Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion, yesterday hailed the late former Jamaica Football Federation and Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president Pat Anderson as a kind hearted person who touched the lives of many.

Anderson died yesterday in the University Hospital of the West Indies. He was 84.

"He played a significant role in my track and field career which included me getting a scholarship to go overseas and study. He has helped so many athletes over the years and will be sadly missed," Hemmings-McCatty, the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal, told The Gleaner.

"I met him when I was 17 years old and just finished Vere Technical. After Vere I did not get a scholarship until after I went and ran for Kirkvine Sports Club. He helped me to gain the scholarship. Throughout my entire career he played a big role in my life. He was more like my godfather. I gave him the name Pops," she pointed out.

 

IN GOOD SPIRITS

 

"I saw him about last week Wednesday and he told me to take care. He was in very good spirits when I saw him at the University Hospital of the West Indies. When he saw me he was overjoyed," she recounted.

"I told him that he was not ready to go yet. He should hang in there. It is very sad to know that we lost such a great man who was so good to so many persons, not only in track and field but also football and cricket," the former Vere and York Castle star athlete said.

"His name will be around for a long time because of all the things he has done for so many persons as I say he was a kind man with a good heart," she emphasised while admitting that she shed tears when she heard of his death.

"Yes I cried because I was so close to him for such a long time. You don't know how hard it is for me right now. It is really a difficult time for me," Hemmings-McCatty expressed.

McCatty was just one of the many people who paid tribute to Anderson yesterday. Minister of Sport Olivia Grange, Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts and the Jamaica Cricket Association president Billy Heaven all hailed him as an icon in sports administration.

Anderson is a product of Admiral Town in St Andrew. His early life was greatly influenced by another philanthropist, the late Father Hugh Sherlock, founder of Boys' Town, which has nurtured the lives of many Jamaican stalwarts.

"I wanted to be so much like Father Sherlock, who established that great place - The City of Little Men, as he called it," Anderson said in a 2012 Gleaner interview. "What he did for youths like me, whose parents couldn't afford to send me to schools like (St) George's (College) and JC (Jamaica College), was just irreplaceable."

Anderson attended Jones Town Primary School and then went to Kingston Technical High. The school was not eligible to play Manning Cup and Sunlight Cup, but shone while playing Minor Cup, where he captained the cricket and football teams.

"I represented Boys' Town in Junior Cup football, and we won everything," he said. "I was the shortest 'keeper at the time, but I did very well as I was noted for saving penalties and wasn't afraid to dive on the dirt. That's how I got the name Dust."

As the director of sports at Alcan, he touched the lives of many talented youth from primary and secondary schools in central Jamaica through sporting activities he organised with the assistance of Barrington Watson of Insports.

Anderson has received many awards over the years including the Order of Distinction in 1996 for community service.