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Bascome says ‘thank you’

Andrew Bascome: “Thank you Bermuda” (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Andrew Bascome has expressed his gratitude for the island-wide support he has received since he and his brother, David, revealed they had been sexually abused while young footballers.

The former star player, current coach and president of the ABC Football Foundation responded on Facebook to the “tremendous outpouring of support and concern from Bermuda’s people, the football fraternity and the media”.

Meanwhile, another former North Village legend, Shaun Goater, joined the growing numbers to publicly back the Bascomes, who he counts as close family friends.

Mr Goater said he was prouder of the pair’s bravery in speaking about their ordeal than he was for any of the trophies they won in their successful sporting careers. Mr Bascome said in his message: “I love the people of Bermuda.

“You might not have realised that you helped me to get through this. You appreciated my talents and my commitment — even my opposition. A good challenger makes a great champion.

“Thank you to my family. Thank you mom and dad for giving me life. My decision to share is an important part of my healing process.

“If my life meant experiencing the things that I have in order to save just one child in my position — then I can rest having turned bad into good.

“Love you Bermuda.”

Mr Goater wrote in a Facebook post: “To my extended Bascome family, I’ve never felt more proud of my mentor and father figure Andrew, and David Bascome!

“I am prouder of his/their bravery to shed the burden of their horrific childhood experience than any trophies, knowledge or games he/they won.

“Andrew, thank you for the life skills, how to conduct myself as a young man going into manhood. I will always be grateful.”

Extending his message of support to their father Herbie, Mr Goater continued: “I love you and please know if there is anything I can do, I am here.

“All FB readers please support the organisation. It is the best life skills and football knowledge your kids can get on the island. The best way to help is to support by sponsoring, enrolling your kids, or highlighting the positive impact you’ve had by being coached by either of these gentleman.

“I truly see in Andrew Bascome the man that inspired me many years ago and I’m even more inspired then that period today. #MyMentor.”

Mr Bascome’s revelations came after footballers in Britain went public over the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of club coaches and scouts.

Since then, others in Bermuda have come forward revealing their own experiences.

And police have urged victims to report any abuse they were subjected to.

In a statement released this afternoon, the ABC Football Foundation commended its founder and president for his “courageous public statement” a week ago.

“We know that in a small community such as ours, such an admission can be a personally challenging one, and we encourage any other men, women, boys or girls who have been exposed to similar abuse to go to or a trusted organisation such as Scars to start the process of healing.

“Our Foundation is guided by the understanding that the true purpose of football and sports, in general, is to develop character and to create a healthy human being, both physically and mentally.

“Coach Bascome is a living example that it works, and he, through his hallmark practice of selfless football, spends every day of the week, year in and year out, developing over 200 to 300 youth daily with his philosophy, passion and drive.

“Our approach is guided in technique, values, structure, preparedness, passion and is led by teachers of the highest qualifications. We believe that our talent is one of the few natural resources that Bermuda has, and the children of Bermuda deserve the best.

“As the sport of football became coach’s safe space in his youth and beyond, we have worked to ensure that our programmes can serve as a safe space to allow children to gain confidence without judgment, and adult or societal pressures, values or attitudes.”

The Foundation’s goal in 2017 is to expand the “Football Matters” programme through all primary schools “as we believe it will offer a valuable process for the betterment of Bermuda and humanity”.

For enquiries or additional information about the foundation e-mail footballmatters@abcfootballfoundation.org, go online www.abcfootballfoundation.org, or call The Brand Lion at 236-2015.

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