Daniels scholarship would be good first step
Again, I write to you with reference to the passing of a dear friend, Michael Daniels, who I’m sure was known by many.
I attended his funeral at Christ Church, Devonshire, and those who knew him was quite evident by the attendance in the church — people from all walks of life.
Michael learnt from an early age to appreciate some of the finer things in life, art being one of them. He, too, was very artistic as a young man, which would have him gravitate towards collecting many pieces over his lifetime. It would also set him on a course that would eventually have him volunteering for the Bermuda National Gallery and Masterworks, which he loved with a passion.
Another side of Michael was the appreciation of good music, good books, old LP records and CDs in later years, classic movies as well. This love for good movies stemmed from owning a video rental business back in the 1980s.
I could write a large book on this man with no trouble. He was larger than life with a warm personality attached to his famous Bermuda smile, which he wore proudly at all times.
The part I wish to make note of is Michael’s involvement in the hotel industry of yesteryear, in which he got an early start learning from the ground floor to the top in every capacity. I’m sure there were days best forgotten.
Michael started his journey on his path in the hotel industry by attending the Bermuda Hotel School back in the Sixties, first joining the City & Guilds programme and the many other courses that would contribute towards his path to success.
With Michael’s never giving up, his zest to learn, he faced each hurdle proudly, eventually rising to become a noted maître d’hôtel. He became one of the best and was Bermudian-trained.
I hope many of our young people will consider Bermuda’s hotel industry as a career, as did Michael.
The Southampton Princess Hotel management held Michael with such high regard. Michael shared his knowledge on a daily basis; for him, teamwork was the only way. This practice was proved time after time under his direction in the main dining room known as Windows on the Sound.
I believe that our government, along with management heads from all Bermuda’s main hotels and cottage colonies should put in place a plan of encouragement for our young people to pursue positions within our hotel industry.
Tourism is still a major player for our island’s economy. Having young Bermudians in the positions that play key roles, thus making all our visitors feel important and happy while here in Bermuda, is essential. It is to be hoped each of them become return guests of our hotels and cottage colonies.
I truly believe we have the talent among the young people in and around our island. We need to give each of them the tools to reach and to attain their goals by presenting each of them the opportunity to fill their dreams at the highest level possible.
Each hotel and cottage colony should also commit to gainful employment of a student or students when possible, providing that each student maintains the grades necessary to fulfil the positions that have been offered. May I also suggest maybe management of the Fairmont Southampton could create a Michael Daniels Memorial Scholarship to be given out to the student who maintains the highest grade point average throughout their time at college in all subjects — practical and theory on graduating.
Showing each student the professional standard requirement that is needed for any major hotel placement and hopefully working with the Fairmont Southampton or associated property around the world. This scholarship would be truly an honour to receive — the Michael Daniels Memorial Scholarship. Also, the Fairmont Southampton should consider a framed picture of Michael to be hung in a most appropriate place for all to see that famous Bermuda smile.
To Michael’s family, especially Tine, I extend my deepest regrets for the loss of such a giant of a man — a husband, a father, a good friend to many, including me. May the memories of Michael be always with each of you.
I’m equally sure he is looking down on his beloved homeland of Bermuda.
H. GORDY GIBBONS
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