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Remembering a ‘free-spirited’ Gombey dancer

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Deep love of Gombeys:Terry “Termite” Simmons

Gombey dancer and father of two Terry “Termite” Simmons was last night remembered by family as a devotee of the quintessentially Bermudian art form.

Mr Simmons’s passion for the Gombeys will shine this Saturday, when the island’s troupes gather to pay their respects at his funeral.

The 62-year-old Crawl resident lost his life in a motorcycle crash in the early hours of Thursday, January 19 on North Shore Road.

His daughter Terrieka Simmons recalled him as a loving parent and a driven man, keen on fitness, who was “always working” and fond of cricket and football.

Added daughter Dawnae Simmons: “I don’t think I ever saw my daddy get mad. He was a very free-spirited person, playful and very humble.

“He was outgoing, always had a smile, always told us he loved us. He was cheerful and big-hearted. If you didn’t see him, you surely heard him.”

Mr Simmons’ love of the Gombeys ran deep, she said: he began dancing with the Norford Gombeys at the age of five, later performing with Place’s Gombeys before moving on to H & N and back to Place’s. His commitment earned him a place in Louise Jackson’s book, The Bermuda Gombey: Bermuda’s Unique Dance.

Dawnette Simmons, his former wife, said that he had intended to dance this past Saturday at a tribute to the late Lawrence “Stickers” Hendrickson Jr, a Gombey troupe leader.

Mr Simmons was “very cultured”, Dawnae Simmons said: “He taught what the Gombeys meant. He believed in giving back to the community and sticking to your culture. My son is going to miss him camping around Cup Match time.”

He knew how to create the elaborate headgear and suits, she added: “My daddy taught me how to do all that, and now my son, Ricaija, does it too.”

Mr Simmons’s funeral will be held at 11am on Saturday in the Heritage Worship Centre on Dundonald Street.

Loving father: Terry “Termite” Simmons