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Couple who had ‘best days of their lives’ in Bermuda return to celebrate 80th birthdays

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Colin Davey, former Central School PE teacher, pictured centre, revisited the school, now Victor Scott Primary School, on a celebratory trip to Bermuda with his wife, Anne (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A husband and wife who enjoyed the best days of their lives while working in Bermuda in the 1960s have returned to the island to celebrate their 80th birthdays.

Colin and Anne Davey, a British couple who worked as teachers in Bermuda from 1965 to 1969, said they could think of no better way to celebrate becoming octogenarians in September and June, respectively.

Mrs Davey said: “Bermuda stays in your heart — it is always in the back of your mind. It’s such a beautiful island and this was our 80th-birthday gift to each other.”

Colin and Anne Davey are celebrating their 80th birthdays with a trip to Bermuda (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Mr Davey worked as a Physical Education teacher at Central School in Pembroke (now Victor Scott Primary School) while his wife worked as a geography and history teacher at St George’s Secondary School.

They lived on Ord Road in Paget until Mrs Davey became pregnant and they decided to move back to England. While they remained in Bermuda for only four years, they made many lifelong friends and integrated themselves into the community.

Mr Davey ran for Bermuda in the then British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1966 in Jamaica and despite getting a stomach bug finished fourth in the semi-finals for the 400m hurdles. He also played for the Teachers rugby team and was responsible for getting a football field laid at Central School.

He recalled: “There was a caretaker called Mr Simons at Central School who cleaned the whole of the school on his own and did all of the repairs which I thought was amazing.

“When I asked him about the facilities he told me there was no football pitch. He gave me a shovel and told me to dig holes for posts and mark the field, and he would do the rest.”

Mr Davey said he was impressed with the school, adding: “It was the nicest school I had been to. The children were very polite. They were so smart in their uniforms and the staff were lovely.

“The students at Central School were very good at sport. They just had a natural ability. They won the schools’ football, gym and cross country for the island. The headmistress at the time was Yvonne Simmons.”

Mrs Davey said her husband would tip her off about the best sporting students.

“If the good athletes came to St George’s Secondary, he would let me know and I would make sure they came on to my house team.”

Their Bermuda connection began long before they moved to the island — they became friends with former premier, the late David Saul, when studying at Loughborough University in Leicester, England.

The 1966 Bermuda Commonwealth Games team before leaving Bermuda. Colin Davey is second from right, Ewart Brown, later Premier of Bermuda, is centre, and John Morbey, who won Bermuda’s first Commonwealth Games medal, is far right. Mr Davey and Dr Brown were on the 440-yard relay team while Dr Brown also competed in the 440 yards and Mr Davey was in the 440-yard hurdles.

He was not the only former premier they were acquainted with. When in Bermuda, they became friends with Ewart Brown, with whom Mr Davey represented Bermuda in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, and helped the children of the late Sir David Gibbons with their school studies.

“He needed someone who would make sure his children did their homework and we used to go collecting grapefruits from their grandparents,” Mrs Davey recalled.

The couple, who returned once before to Bermuda 13 years ago for a vacation, also reminisced about Bermuda’s impressive music and entertainment scene at the time they lived here.

They fondly remembered watching Mr Davey’s favourite singer, Dionne Warwick, at the Forty Thieves Club as well as The Merrymen, a calypso group from Barbados.

Mr and Mrs Davey are staying at Grotto Bay Beach Resort for a week and plan to stay with friends for their second week. They will enjoy swimming, visiting old haunts and “generally enjoying beautiful Bermuda”.

Colin Davey, former Central School PE teacher, pictured centre, revisited the school, now Victor Scott Primary School, on a celebratory trip to Bermuda with his wife, Anne (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

This week Mr Davey visited Victor Scott Primary, which he said looked exactly the same as when he worked there.

They say the island has changed since their first stay in that there are more buildings in Hamilton and there is more traffic on the roads.

If it is within their power they would love to return again one day. “We’ll come back when I am 100,” Mr Davey laughed. “Or when I have made enough savings.”

The Central School champion football team, with Colin Davey at right.
Central School’s champion athletics teams, with Colin Davey on the right
Central School cup winners, with Colin Davey in the middle

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Published June 01, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated June 01, 2022 at 7:47 am)

Couple who had ‘best days of their lives’ in Bermuda return to celebrate 80th birthdays

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