Nine people won prizes in the Seafarers Association raffle on Saturday night. By being absent, however, they missed the bonus: a delightful evening of camaraderie, entertainment and good food.
The raffle was begun last year to assist the association with improvements to its headquarters on Shamrock Road in Prospect. Winners were to have been drawn on 11 December.
But, as association president Rudy Garvin put it, ‘Hurricane Ivan messed up everybody, not just us.’
The devastation of the September 2004 storm not only caused some serious belt-tightening but also reduced the raffle to one of the last things on people’s minds.
As rebuilding continued and spirits lifted a bit, the seamen were able to re-open their building and then concentrate on the unfinished business of the raffle.
Because of the storm’s impact, the fund raiser was not as successful as had been hoped. Nevertheless, Mr. Garvin reported informally, the raffle did net around $6,000.
Saturday night’s function alone was worth the price of a ticket. It was open to the seamen and their families and anyone who had bought a ticket.
The evening began with the socialising that traditionally takes place when shipmates get together. Their warmth and hospitality ensured that no newcomer felt left out.
The complimentary supper included a well-organised variety of local favourites such potato salads, cole slaws, macaroni and cheese, fried and curry chicken and a dessert table that could have provided a meal by itself.
Master of ceremonies Buddy Wood kept things moving as he solicited bids in a Dutch auction, invited members of the audience to entertain and then provide commentary as Mr. Garvin conducted the raffle.
Mr. Wood is a former third engineer. Mr. Garvin was chief engineer. Mr. Edmond Hydes, who came to the microphone to give a few jokes, was an engine room fireman.
Mrs. Vernice Ebanks, whose husband Linton was an able bodied seaman, recited a poem she had learned in school over 70 years ago.
The offspring of seamen also took part. Starri and Skye Smith, children of second engineer John B. Smith, were invited to roll the drum of raffle tickets. They were assisted in the drawing of tickets by Lewis Connolly, son of Captain Coolidge Connolly.
The winners and their prizes were announced by Mr. Garvin as follows:
1. 14-foot South Seas fibreglass boat: Johnny Powery, ticket # 2401.
2. $1,500 cash: Carlton Williams, ticket # 1784.
3. $500 cash: Lynbern Eden, # 0612.
4. $500 cash: Ivan Farrington, # 1082.
5. $500 cash: Denia Bush, # 0974.
6. Airline ticket to Miami: Camoran Castillo, # 2048.
7. Airline ticket to Jamaica: Fred Speirs, # 0230.
8. Airline ticket to Cuba: Susan Watler, # 1051.
9. Airline ticket to Ft. Lauderdale: Jazz Pitcairn, # 0188.
The Seafarers Association is planning another function for August, this time a family-style picnic with lots of children’s activities and another Dutch auction. Mr. Garvin noted that, although attendance was good Saturday night, it would have been better if not for the rainy weather.
He hopes the weather will be better in August so that even more people can enjoy the good time seamen know how to provide.