BCB hosts emotional Night of Reflection for Basil Butcher
The Berbice Cricket Board (BCB), mourning the loss of the late legendary cricketer Basil Fitzherbert Butcher, AA, on Thursday and Friday last paid him emotional tribute as his body was laid to rest in his home village of Port Mourant.
Hundreds turned out on Thursday at the Port Mourant Cricket Club Ground to participate in an Evening of Reflection in honour of the late Basil Butcher, while BCB President Hilbert Foster paid him heartfelt tribute during a funeral service held at the St Joseph Anglican Church at Portuguese Quarters in Port Mourant on Friday last.
Foster, like Butcher’s former team mate Sydney Jackman, hailed Butcher for being a Berbice cricketing hero who laid the foundation for others to follow.
Foster disclosed that Butcher had been one of the first persons to encourage him to run for the presidency of the BCB, and had always provided him with words of encouragement and advice.
The BCB boss urged his attentive audience of young cricketers to follow Butcher’s formula of being humble, hardworking, disciplined and dedicated to the game if they wanted to succeed. He said that despite his legendary status, Butcher had been a very simple and humble individual who strongly believed in assisting others to succeed.
In his half-hour of reflection on Butcher’s career, Jackman said most bowlers had rated Butcher as one of the most difficult batsmen to dismiss, since he cherished his wicket very highly.
The former Guyana team wicketkeeper said Butcher had always been very supportive of his junior teammates, and he remembered Butcher as being the first Guyanese to offer him words of encouragement when he had missed an opportunity to stump the great Sir Garfield Sobers.
Pastor Rajin Dipoo of the CCI Church also spoke at the event.
The Evening of Reflection featured numerous well received cultural items from the Fyrish Steelband Group, GuySuCo Training Centre, and the CCI Church at Williamsburg. The large gathering of cricketers, cricket officials, umpires and special guests was also able to view a pictorial review of Butcher’s career via an exhibition hosted by the vibrant Berbice Cricket Board.
Attendees at the Evening of Reflection were provided refreshments by Banks DIH Ltd, CIDI, Spready’s Snackette, Guyana Beverage Company, BCB, and the RHTY&SC, MS.
At the funeral service on Friday, Foster unveiled several BCB plans to honour the memory of Butcher and the other four legends: John Trim, Rohan Kanhai, Joe Solomon and Ivan Madray, the first five Berbicians to play Test cricket. According to a BCB release, GuySuCo will be approached to name the pavilions at the Port Mourant Ground after these legends, while a billboard will be constructed on the ground in their honour.
The RHTY&SC and the BCB would also organise an annual Basil Butcher Memorial Cricket Tournament and commence a Basil Butcher Trust Fund from which less fortunate youth cricketers would benefit in terms of the receipt of cricket gear. Clubs would receive items such as cricket balls, stumps and scorebooks.
Another pictorial exhibition was hosted during the funeral service while twenty-four cricketers honoured Butcher’s memory by giving him a bat salute as his remains were taken in and out of the church.