Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Cricket ball thrown around Barbados for first Independence

Before the first Human Chain Link in 1979, around 100 cricketers threw a cricket ball from Kensington Oval to Government Headquarters in celebration of Barbados' first Independence in 1966.

This was revealed by Maurice Foster, one of the organisers of the first Human Chain Link around the island on November 30th, 1979.

He told Loop News that his love for cricket inspired the event:

"A friend of mine, we were talking before Independence - this is the first Independence [1966] - I said what can cricket do - I love cricket with a passion though I was never a good cricketer, but I love it. So what could we do that would involve the cricketers of Barbados?

"And he said, 'Well years ago if you want to pass a message from one place to another you would put it in something and throw it'. I said well maybe we could put something in a cricket ball and throw it from Kensington to Government Headquarters in Bay Street through a series of people." 

Once his plan was accepted by the Cricket Association, the journey of the cricket ball began:

"And the Cricket Association agreed and a committee was organised to do that. Michie Hewitt and Sir Everton Weekes - the greatest cricketer in the world - and I, were appointed to work it out. And after we got a ball - a cricket ball - and filled a hole in it... it was screwed down on the two sides and we put the pledge and we rolled it up in inside the cricket ball... Now we had something that we could throw."

Coming up with the idea and organising it was the easy part, however, as they learnt on the day the ball was to be thrown:

"We should have realised, that when you go and drill a hole in a cricket ball and you throw it, it would wobble in the air and it did. So it was dropped a number of times."

But if you thought that was the hardest part, he noted that they also threw it over the Careenage.

"A lot of people said well suppose it falls in the water and I said well that would be too bad and I said well if we going to do it, we will do it with this one ball. And we threw it over the Careenage... By the time it went over the Careenage it was really wobbling, but it worked."

The ball was thrown with "the cricketers roughly 22 yards apart. From the pitch on at Kensington to Pickwick Road, down onto Fontabelle, from Fontabelle right into Bridgetown, right down Broad Street, over the careenage, backup to Government Headquarters in Bay Street."

After that journey to Bay Street, "The Prime Minister read the message which CBC then repeated that night because it was what the cricketers of Barbados had done."

Where can the ball be found now? Right in the home of Maurice Foster.

He explained that after the ball went missing from Kensington Oval it was eventually found among storage for the Pickwick Cricket Club and Mr Foster was more than happy to accept the offer to keep it at his home.

Some 93,000 persons participated in the 1979 Human Chain Link. The chain, however, was not completed because there were gaps in some areas, while other areas had four lines of persons. This year, the One People, One Barbados Human Chain Link will be attempted on Monday, November 28, 2016. Persons are encouraged to register online at www.onepeopleonebarbados.org in order to choose a point on the map. There will be 90 points on the chain, which will be along the coastline.

The website currently shows that 52,669 people are registered to take part in the event. Organisers say 92,000 are needed to make the chain link a success.

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