Fri | Feb 28, 2020

Late Ben Francis hailed as the foundation of Vere

Published:Saturday | October 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Ben Francis (right) presenting the trophy named in his honour, the Ben Francis KO Cup, to Ashton Bennett, captain of 2007 champions Garvey Maceo High.

Principal of Vere Technical High Antoinette Banton Ellis says that former headmaster Ben Francis, who passed away on Friday, October 19, should be remembered as the "foundation of Vere". Banton Ellis also said that the Ben Francis Cup football competition which was named after him, should not be discarded, but should remain to emphasise the significant impact Francis had on high school sports, especially in track and field and football.

"He has made a tremendous mark. He will be remembered as the foundation of Vere Technical. The impact he has had on many students who are now adults and who are doing well throughout the Diaspora is significant. So it's one of those names we will never forget," she said.


Heavy loss


"The loss is very hard because you have persons who are still here who worked under his tenure at Vere. He was instrumental in the first batch of students going on to university and colleges, even paying school fees for some of them," she said.

Francis not only made Vere a household name, he was one of the first to encourage students to be athletes as a means of improving their performance.

"Athletics was what he used to make Vere a household name. Even though people have never been to Clarendon, they know Vere Technical because of our dominance at Girls' Championships and in the daCosta Cup. So when you consider sports, you think of Ben Francis," Banton

Ellis said. Olympic and World Championships standouts Merlene Ottey and Veronica Campbell-Brown, are two of the most famous graduates of Vere while Francis was the principal.

"In grade seven, we have introduced students to the history of Vere and the role Ben Francis played in making Vere a household name," Banton Ellis added.

On Monday, there will be a viewing of Francis' body at the school from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. There will be a memorial service next Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in which there will be open tributes to Francis. An official memorial service will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. He will be buried next Friday at Up Park Camp.