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Legacy of Johnny Barnes to live on

A husband-and-wife team has launched a new business venture that could see a life-size Johnny Barnes mascot welcome visitors to Bermuda.

The project, which had the blessing of both Mr Barnes and his wife, Belvina, has been designed to help keep the legacy of the popular tourism ambassador alive.

Monique Georges and her husband, Shawn Stovell, hope that the new enterprise is a fitting tribute to Mr Barnes's spirit and message.

Ms Georges, 41, of Paget told The Royal Gazette that the mascot was manufactured in Canada and arrived in Bermuda on July 8, the day before Mr Barnes passed away.

“It was very important that we had Johnny's blessing with this project,” Ms Georges said.

“We met with him and his wife earlier in the year and talked them through the idea.

“They were both very supportive and we were able to show Johnny pictures of what the costume would look like. He thought it was a great idea.”

Mr Barnes died on July 9, at the age of 93.

Scores of Bermuda Institute schoolchildren lined the roadsides around his customary place at Crow Lane to cheer his funeral procession on its way to St George's.

The school's auditorium earlier hosted a service of hundreds, including Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and the Governor, George Fergusson, with guests paying final respects before his cedar casket.

“This all started with a prayer and when Johnny retired from the roundabout it all made sense to continue his legacy and bring Johnny to the people worldwide,” Ms Georges said.

“To me, Johnny Barnes was an icon, people all over the world knew him, and we should do what we can to preserve his legacy.

“My vision is for this figure to greet visitors off the cruise ship, attend local events, perhaps Cup Match and the Rugby Classic, or even perhaps weddings.

“Visitors could have their pictures taken with him and he could do all sorts of community events.”

Life-size tribute: Monique Georges with son Nasir Ray-Georges, 12, dressed as a Johnny Barnes mascot (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 30, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 30, 2016 at 5:07 am)

Legacy of Johnny Barnes to live on

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