Passing of Patrick "Bunny" Anderson

“A kind man with a good heart,” is how Olympic gold medallist Deon Hemmings-McCatty remembered the late Patrick Anderson, former president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) who passed away after a long illness yesterday at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in Kingston at age 84.

Pat Anderson3Tributes flowed for Anderson, who was described as “a giant among men” and the father of sports in central Jamaica as many whose lives he touched remembered him in a positive way.

Ray Harvey, also a former JAAA president, remembered Anderson as being “consumed by his desire to develop sports and to assist all who he could”.

Dr Warren Blake, the current JAAA boss, remembered him as a “stalwart in track and field”;

Mike Ricketts, the current JFF boss, described him as an icon of sports in Jamaica, recalling the many young lives that “Uncle Bunny”, as he was affectionately called, impacted. “He loved young people and acted as mentor for so many,” continued Ricketts. “Other close associates in football remember him as someone who believed anything was possible; he was an eternal optimist”, while current JFF General Secretary Dalton Wint, a former president of the Manchester Football Association, said he did not restrict himself to any one sport, “he was just not only about football, but sports in general and helping people”.

As the president of the JAAA, Anderson was credited with starting training camps for junior athletes, based mainly at G C Foster Sports College in Angels, St Catherine.

Anderson, who was called “Pops” and was born in Admiral Town in Kingston, was also remembered as saying he wanted to be like Father Hugh Sherlock, the founder of Boys' Town.

"I wanted to be so much like Father Sherlock, who established that great place, The City of Little Men, as he called it. What he did for youths like me whose parents couldn't afford to send me to schools like St George's College and Jamaica College was just irreplaceable.”

Anderson played both football and cricket and represented Boys' Town in both, as goalkeeper and wicketkeeper.

Dr. Blake is one of several current JAAA executive members, including General Secretary Garth Gayle, treasurer Ludlow Watts and committee member Trevor “TC” Campbell, who were part of the Pat Anderson-led JAAA between 2000 and 2004, and told the Jamaica Observer yesterday, “Jamaica has lost a good man” who was the driving force behind the Kirkvine Development Meet.

Hemmings-McCatty, who was one of many athletes Anderson helped to get scholarships to US colleges, told the Observer, “he did so much for so many of us,” and “while it is sad to see him go, we know he is in a better place”.

Wint, who was supervised by Anderson in the 1980s when he was just out of high school and got his first job at Alcan, said he remembered him for being very serious about safety in the workplace and about sports.

Wint described Anderson as “a philanthropist,” who “gave a lot of support in any way he could to the children of the staff at Alcan, to members of the community and, as far as I know, to persons in Clarendon and even St Elizabeth”.

Anderson also believed in education, Wint said, and pointed out that he helped many gifted students to get into tertiary institutions such as Mico Teachers' College (now Mico University), Churches Teachers' College, G C Foster Sports College, UTech and UWI-Mona.

In recognition of his contribution to sports in the parish of Mandeville, Wint said, the Under-17 football competition had been named in his honour.

Harvey said that Anderson was “always trying to make contributions to the development of sports and individuals”.

After meeting Anderson some 20-odd years ago, he said they developed a strong bond and even roomed at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004, as members of the JAAA delegation.

“His commitment to the development of the human being and to person in sports was all-consuming, he was always seeking to find ways to help persons in one way or the other.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Sports Olivia Grange, in paying her respect, said Anderson helped to set the foundation for sports success.

“Pat Anderson gave his all to building sports in Jamaica, from the grass-roots to the high-performance level. We will always be grateful to him for the development programmes he initiated — programmes that helped to identify and hone the skills of some of our world-class athletes, including Usain Bolt and Melaine Walker.”

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