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Tribute to a loyal servant of athletics and young people

On behalf of the Bermuda National Athletics Association, we would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends and our athletic family for the loss of Earl “Gabby” Hart.

Mr Hart was one of the founding members of the Bermuda Track and Field Association and served on the first executive committee under the late president Randy Benjamin.

He was an avid supporter of track and field. He was one of the persons who were on the organising committee and served in a leadership role when Bermuda hosted the Carifta Games in 1975 — Bermuda earned more medals than Jamaica at that Carifta Games. He also served on the organising committee the second time Bermuda hosted Carifta, in 1980.

Mr Hart was one of our forever “VIPs”. There was no event when he was not in attendance — from the Carifta Games, Area Permit Meet, Front Street Mile, cocktail receptions, etc. Mr Hart was a historian of this sport and if there was anything you needed to know regarding Bermuda track and field, he would provide you with the information.

Earl “Gabby” Hart (File photograph)

I remember Mr Hart at several Carifta Games locally and overseas, his enthusiasm and excitement when a Bermuda athlete competed, especially when they made it on the podium. Mr Hart was known throughout the region, as his love for this sport was no secret. He was an advocate for the growth and development of track and field in Bermuda.

Mr Hart touched so many people in our sport, and so we asked them to say a few words about their memories of him.

Norbert Simons: Mr.Hart was a giant among men in education and sport, in particular track and field and football. His support for track, especially Carifta, was known throughout the region. I recall the very first Carifta Games in Barbados when he along with the other members of the association did all they could to ensure Bermuda would participate in it. Mr Hart proudly led the team to the inaugural event and, needless to say, the rest is history. From a personal point, Mr Hart supported me professionally. When I became Director of the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation, he often would give me an encouraging word. He often attended the Sports Awards and many other sporting events. Mr Hart’s jovial personality and support of sport will be greatly missed. Bermuda has lost a legend.

Debbie Jones-Hunter: Back in the day and to present, Mr Hart, a staunch advocate for the continued progress and growth of athletics for our island home, spoke volumes with his involvement in the initial phases of the Carifta Games 1972. To the present, many athletes have benefited from the fruits of his labour of love. He was also our very own “live sports commentator/announcer” who at times was so excited during the competition that his everlasting, infectious laugh could clearly be heard throughout the “Stadium” — and how one could not help but giggle as well.

Branwen Smith-King: "I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Earl "Gabby” Hart. Gabby was well known as a leader in the community, for he had a vibrant personality and a relentless commitment to the youth of Bermuda. As a founding member of the Bermuda Track and Field Association, Gabby set his sights on helping young athletes reach their potential in the sport. For example, in the 1970s, Gabby was instrumental in making sure our athletes had the opportunity to represent Bermuda internationally. Without his leadership, the success and development of athletics simply would not have happened. Advocate, teacher, coach and confidant are just a few of the roles he played in a legacy that will last for ever. Gabby’s sense of humour, passion for sport, and love of others can never be duplicated — he will be sorely missed.“

Gerry Swan: Earl Hart was dedicated to the development and progress of people and, in particular, the young people of Bermuda. Those desires and commitment to help, advise and encourage others were clearly demonstrated and evident throughout the decades of professional service that he provided as an educator and as an administrator and/or representative in various sports. Earl “Gabby” Hart was a people person — he loved being with people and enjoyed life.

Devon Bean: I have fond memories of Mr Hart. He was my deputy principal at Warwick Secondary School for the five years I attended there. I vividly recall, in his famous voice: “Boy, where are you supposed to be? Well, get there!” Mr Hart was a great educator and role model. He was militant and firm, but he was always fair. We often had long talks about track and field, and he always encouraged me to follow my dream of becoming an Olympian. Mr Hart loved to tell a story and I was always willing to listen. He will be missed. May he forever SIP.

DONNA RAYNOR

President

Bermuda National Athletics Association

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Published January 07, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 06, 2021 at 3:14 pm)

Tribute to a loyal servant of athletics and young people

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