Lady Eileen Sharpe (1922-2021): hospital volunteer and education supporter
Lady Eileen Sharpe was devoted to improving educational opportunities.
Sir John Swan, a former premier, said she was “one of the stalwart credits to Bermuda”.
“One of her fundamental mandates in life was to help people to get educated,” Sir John added. ”She was devoted to her family in making sure that they got the best of what was available.”
“She helped to make Bermuda a beautiful place. She was a very inquisitive mind, very engaging and empathetic to what she believed in.”
Lady Sharpe was a supporter of Warwick Academy, where generations of Sharpes were taught.
The school said this week that she had been “a huge part of our family”.
A spokeswoman added: “She was involved in many areas of the school, from heading up and organising the Clothing Mart over many years; to being a substitute teacher, much to her daughter's chagrin; and being involved as a parent for her two children John and Kathy Keane Sharpe.”
Lady Sharpe could later be found at the school to watch her grandchildren, Emma and Hannah Keane, in music concerts and drama productions.
The Sharpe family included Cassie White, a nurse named on the First World War memorial at the front of the school.
The spokeswoman said: “The Sharpe family has deep roots with the school and are a very treasured part of our history.”
Dave Horan, Warwick Academy’s principal, offered the school’s condolences to the Sharpe family.
He said: “The family are a very important part of the school and we are so appreciative of all that they have done over the years."
Sir John said Lady Sharpe, the widow of Sir John “Jack” Sharpe, also a former United Bermuda Party premier, who died in 1999, “stood by her husband and believed what he was doing was right for Bermuda”.
Her husband was a United Bermuda Party Cabinet minister and led the Government from 1975 to 1977.
Sir John said that Lady Sharpe was a good family friend and her husband had been a mentor.
He added: “She treated me with great respect and encouraged my political career.
“I was fortunate to be encouraged on both sides of the Sharpe family.
“When she lost Jack, she lost a very special companion. It was a very sad day for all of us. But she carried on all these years looking after the family and her grandchildren.”
The couple, who married in 1948, had two children, John and Kathleen.
The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where she started as a volunteer in 1957, was another of Lady Sharpe’s causes.
A “Pink Lady” with the Hospitals Auxiliary of Bermuda, she volunteered in a variety of roles from café cashier to dishwasher.
The hospital honoured her for 50 years of continuous service in 2007.
Lady Sharpe was also a founding member of the Committee of Six, a charity set up by the late Dame Marjorie Bean in 1979.
The group’s popular coffee mornings supported dozens of charities across the island over the next 20 years.
Lady Sharpe was also a keen bridge player and a veteran member of the Bermuda Bridge Club.
• Lady Eileen Margaret Sharpe, a dedicated charity volunteer, was born on March 15, 1922. She died in October 2021, aged 99.