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Ducy is crazy about carnival

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Sharon Burrows loves to put on a show. As Bermuda sheltered in place over Easter she dressed up as a bunny, got on her roof and waved to the people in her neighbourhood.

Her passion, however, is carnival. Since she was introduced to the festival decades ago by the late Choy Aming, she has amassed a collection of outrageous costumes despite never having been to a carnival outside Bermuda because she does not really like to travel.

“My favourite was probably one where I had a dog bone in my mouth,” said the 69-year-old, whose friends call her “Ducy”.

“I wore black and gold. My girlfriend, Winnie Pitt, was dragging her dog bone. We used to dance together all the time. The costumes were made for us in Trinidad but were not expensive the way they are now.”

She will often put them on to entertain others.

“I'm an unexpected kind of person,” Ms Burrows laughed.

“Just the other day, I went to surprise a lady celebrating her 83rd birthday. Then a woman asked me to surprise her husband at his job. That was fun.”

She is certified in Alzheimer's care and would spend time in costume with seniors every day before the pandemic, accompanying them to social gatherings and visiting them at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

“They can call me any time of the day or night,” she said.

Whenever a senior celebrates a birthday or anniversary, she is on the phone to Power 95 with a request for a song.

She says that her high level of energy is something she is known for: she talks fast, does not sit still for long and laughs a lot.

“I've always been like this,” she said. “I enjoy life. I'm something else. People say, ‘How come you are like that every day?' But when things happen you can't get mad at people, you've just got to live your life.”

She grew up on Scotts Hill Road in Sandys, not too far from where she lives now.

Her father, Richard Lee, drove a bus; her mother, Iris, took care of their 11 children.

“I was the youngest,” Ms Burrows said. “There were eight girls in my family and three boys. I was the youngest, but I wasn't spoilt.”

She remembers having to feed her father's many animals, which ranged from pigs to chickens to dogs.

“You had to do what you were told,” she said. “When my father whistled, you better be in that yard.”

As a child, she loved playing with her brothers.

“I loved football,” she said. “They used to call me a little tomboy, but I was all right.”

Ms Burrows worked in the laundry department of what is now the Fairmont Southampton for 18 years, ultimately becoming a supervisor, training officer and shop steward for the Bermuda Industrial Union.

While there, she joined the hotel's cricket team which, between 1974 and 1984, played an annual match against staff at what is now the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

During the pandemic Ms Burrows did a lot of walking to keep herself busy.

“This was a first experience for Bermudians,” she said.

“It was a struggle for many people. A lot of people are not used to being home with children and husbands and wives so it has been a bit hard. You never know about life, but I just keep going.”

She met her late husband, Raymond Burrows, while at Sandys Secondary School. They were married on December 16, 1972. Mr Burrows, a bus driver, died suddenly six years ago.

“He was a good husband and I miss him,” Ms Burrows said.

She is proud that her son, Raymond Jr, and several other family members have driven buses. She herself drove a minibus up until two years ago.

“I still have a minibus licence,” she said.

Over the years she has put her considerable energy towards selling tags for a number of charities such as the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association, the Orchid Charity Club and Pride Bermuda, the substance abuse programme for kids. In her home are a stack of certificates thanking her for her service.

“I keep it close to my chest, because the work comes from my heart,” she said. “It is nice when you feel good when you are doing for people.

“I got the one from the Sandys community last year. Dennis Lister presented it. I didn't know I was going to get a certificate. I was just told to be somewhere at a certain time.

“It's a good thing I dressed up, because normally I am a sneakers and socks lady. But I don't just help people from Sandys. I help people from all over the island.”

Ms Burrows also has a daughter, Sharay Burrows, and two grandchildren, Raymond III and Aviyah Burrows.

Lifestyle profiles the island's senior citizens every Wednesday. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or jmhardy@royalgazette.com with the full name and contact details and the reason you are suggesting them

Putting on a show: Sharon Burrows has amassed a collection of colourful costumes and often wears them to surprise and entertain people (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Sharon Burrows (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Sharon Burrows (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Sharon Burrows playing cricket in her younger days (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 22, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated July 22, 2020 at 1:34 pm)

Ducy is crazy about carnival

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