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Young remembered for her generosity

Kim Young, a former United Bermuda Party Cabinet minister, has died aged 75.

Mrs Young, a nurse and human rights activist, passed away in the Bahamas yesterday after suffering a severe stroke while in hospital with a fractured spine.

Her son, Jonathan Young, said last night that her life was defined by love, dignity, compassion, generosity and laughter.

Mr Young said: “If you wish to honour her memory, please give your time and love to someone who needs it.”

Mrs Young was MP for Paget East from May 1997 until her political retirement at the General Election in July 2003.

She was appointed Minister without Portfolio in May 1998, a few months before the UBP’s tenure in government came to an end. While in Opposition, she served as Shadow Minister for Health and Family Services and spokeswoman for Environment and Women’s Issues.

She retired from politics so that she could travel with her husband, Ward Young, after he sold family businesses The Phoenix Group and BGA.

Mrs Young was born in Australia and arrived in Bermuda in 1966, aged 22, to work as a nurse at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

She served on the Human Rights Commission for two years from 1995, as well as a host of government boards and committees. These included the Sexual Assault Review Committee and the Women’s Advisory Council, which she chaired, the Bermuda Hospitals Board, Fairhavens Christian Care Centre, and the Task Force on Women’s Issues.

In 1998, Mrs Young said her time working at Teen Services had sparked her interest in social conditions and encouraged her to enter politics, telling The Royal Gazette: “There are a variety of issues involving single young women who have children. It pricked my social conscience.”

During her time in politics, Mrs Young was a frequent voice for human rights and helped win equal pay for women and equality for the rights of children of Bermudian women.

She said in 2000: “Most people feel all is right on the women’s front in Bermuda because our political parties are headed by women and our Attorney-General is a woman. Many of our women have reached great heights and deserve the highest accolades, but there are still women suffering.”

She also called for the Human Rights Act to be amended to ban discrimination on the grounds of age and sexual orientation.

Mrs Young also spoke on the racial divide in Bermuda politics. Announcing her impending retirement from politics in 2002, she said: “When I came in 1966, I associated with people of both races and I never felt any discrimination until I went into the House of Assembly.

“That’s the first time I really felt that people were prejudiced — they think because I’ve got blue eyes and white skin, therefore you must think a certain way.”

Mrs Young had four children, Shannon, Jonathan, William and Jeness, who died in infancy, and was stepmother to Ardleigh and Ward Jr.

Paying tribute in a statement today, the Progressive Labour Party said: “In her personal capacity, we thank her for her service to Bermuda as a nurse at KEMH, and for her contributions to the Human Rights Commission, Teen Services and the Bermuda Hospitals Board, among others.

“We extend our condolences to the Young family during this time. May their memories of her comfort them.”