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Apples don’t fall far from the tree

Former No 1 tennis player Gavin Manders’s decision to run the Bermuda Day Race to raise funds for a top junior player, Daniel Phillips, captures the theme of Bermuda Day 2022 — “Togetherness”.

As a result of Gavin announcing that commitment to financially assist the training programme of this 17-year-old, who has demonstrated potential, 19 other top tennis players across the age range have rallied together for the cause.

Spirit of togetherness: Daniel Phillips has aspirations of becoming a professional tennis player on the ATP World Tour. Many of the island’s leading tennis players in different age categories will be running the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby on Friday to assist his cause

The tradition of rallying for each other exemplifies some of the best of Bermuda’s collective character, our shared legacy. There have been numerous examples over many decades of neighbours helping each other to build homes, communities networking to sustain sporting programmes, and grassroots movements transforming our society for the better.

During the past two years and more of Covid, there have been many stories of people assisting others through the challenges, fostering togetherness.

Apples don’t fall far from the tree

Gavin’s father, Arnold Manders, and his two uncles, Andre and the late Anthony, benefited from the togetherness in the St John’s Road neighbourhood, where Western Stars cricket and Dandy Town football emerged. The three Manders boys went on to excel in both sports and they also gave back, making positive contributions to our whole society in numerous ways — demonstrating togetherness.

Gavin’s mother, the late Disa Manders, who served as an educator for decades, also exemplified fostering a culture of sharing with others towards the good of the whole.

I recall working with Disa during the mid-1990s on a small committee — Child Aid — which was a response to a famine in Ethiopia. When we discussed the strategy for our no-budget campaign, Disa insisted that we simply ask every resident to donate $1 towards the fund. While the rest of us didn’t think that approach would work; we reluctantly proceeded with the ‘one-dollar angle’ and eventually raised a total of $60,000. Based on our population; we had successfully demonstrated ‘togetherness’; fulfilling Disa’s vision.

Daniel Phillips, the young tennis player who is being assisted by Gavin’s campaign, comes from a family who have also exemplified a spirit of caring for the wider community.

His grandmother, the Marva Phillips (née Stovell), was a member of the Progressive Group that secretly initiated the Theatre Boycott, thus leading to the removal of racial barriers in Bermuda, and a fostering of togetherness. Her grandfather, Rufus Stovell, was a founder of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, the island’s first union. Marva’s father, Wycliff Stovell, was the first secretary of the Bermuda Workers Association and E.F. Gordon’s right-hand man in campaigning for a democratic society during the 1940s.

Their family’s legacy was exemplary in passing the baton, promoting solidarity, across the island and through the generations.

In 2022, we are facing some unprecedented challenges globally and locally. Social media seems to suggest that we are being dominated by the ethos of “every man for himself” and “might makes right”.

The group that was inspired by Gavin Manders is obviously begging to differ. Those 20 men, of various ages, are demonstrating their self-awareness that any success that they have had is owing to the support of many people across the community. With that appreciation, they are demonstrating togetherness — not just by their talk but also by their walk. Or should I say “run”.

• Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda

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Published May 24, 2022 at 7:45 am (Updated May 24, 2022 at 7:44 am)

Apples don’t fall far from the tree

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