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St George’s rocked by death of stalwart

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The East End community is mourning the death of veteran footballer Cal Rayner, who collapsed while playing at Wellington Oval on Saturday.

The 64-year-old St George's Cricket Club stalwart was playing in an inter-club match when he went down after about 20 minutes. Efforts to resuscitate him, first by players and then by first responders, proved unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead on arrival by ambulance at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Mr Rayner, the uncle of Neil Paynter, the president of St George's CC, was a well-known striker who made a name for himself playing for Wellington Rovers, Young Men's Social Club, St George's Colts and St George's All-Stars.

“This is definitely a big loss,” said Mr Paynter, whose mother is the twin sister of the late footballer. “Cal played for St George's Colts and lived in the community, and is going to be a real miss.

“He was a very quiet man and very kind and gentle. But on the pitch he was a lion and loved the game of football — what he loved is where his life ended. He will be sadly missed.”

Long-time friend and team-mate Noel “Sub” Smith, rates Mr Rayner as one of the best striker's Bermuda has produced.

“He was a top goalscorer and I think everyone would attest to that,” said Mr Smith, who was the coach of the team that Mr Rayner led on to the field as captain before he collapsed. “I guess he's scored more goals from St George's All-Stars than anybody else in our history; it's a big loss.

“From a youngster, Cal represented St George's very well, starting off in junior football all the way up to senior football. He left us for a period to play for Social Club and then came back.

“I am traumatised by his death. I was actually waiting for him to get back up on the pitch. Maxwell Burgess and Derek Wright did a sterling job trying to revive Cal on the field. They performed CPR for a period of time before the ambulance came. It was hard.

“He hadn't played with us for about two years and somebody invited him to come out and a have a little kick. Maybe 20 minutes into the game is when the incident happened. It was surreal.”

Kenny Bascome, the Government Member of Parliament and a former St George's Colts team-mate, also spoke highly of the late footballer.

“I have known Cal for the past 40-odd years and always found him to be a reliable family person,” Mr Bascome said. “It was a shock to me when I heard he had passed away. I only played with him for one season or so for St George's Colts because when I was playing, Mr Rayner was playing for Social Club. He was a very positive person who will be missed in our society.”

Charles Wade, who played alongside Mr Rayner with St George's All-Stars, added: “This is a big loss to the St George's community because Cal was a great man. I learnt a lot from him over the years that I have known him.

“We played a lot of football together with St George's All-Stars and at one time we were the oldest front line in Bermuda. Back lines couldn't stop us and Cal was the finisher.

“I am stunned by his death. He will be a great miss.”

Cal Raynor

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Published March 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm (Updated March 17, 2015 at 1:44 am)

St George’s rocked by death of stalwart

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