Honouring a Legend: GraceKennedy donates JMD$1 million to Hubert Lawrence legacy project

By March 25, 2024
Grace Food Domestic CEO Frank James hugs a tearful Mrs Collette Pryce, Principal of St Jago High at Kingston's National Stadium on Saturday after the company donated JMD$ 1 million to a legacy project in honour of the late journalist, track and field analyst and author Hubert Lawrence, who died suddenly on February 23, at the age of 63. Grace Food Domestic CEO Frank James hugs a tearful Mrs Collette Pryce, Principal of St Jago High at Kingston's National Stadium on Saturday after the company donated JMD$ 1 million to a legacy project in honour of the late journalist, track and field analyst and author Hubert Lawrence, who died suddenly on February 23, at the age of 63. GraceKennedy

The track and field community, and indeed the entire nation, was left reeling by the sudden passing of beloved journalist and broadcaster Hubert Lawrence on February 23, 2024. Lawrence, known for his encyclopedic knowledge and unparalleled passion for sports, particularly track and field, had been a fixture in the hearts of many for years. His unexpected departure just before the Gibson/McCook Relays sent shockwaves through Jamaica and beyond.

In recognition of his immense contribution to the sporting world, GraceKennedy Ltd, the title sponsors for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, vowed to pay tribute to Lawrence during the event. True to their word, an emotional tribute unfolded during the Championships, featuring a heartfelt video presentation from colleagues and athletes alike, including GraceKennedy Ambassadors Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Hansle Parchment, and Briana Williams. The moving tribute was complemented by a musical performance from Alaine, accompanied by the St. Jago High School chorale.

However, the tribute did not end there. Frank James, CEO of Grace Foods Domestic, stepped forward to present a symbolic gesture of support to St. Jago High School, Lawrence's alma mater. A cheque for JMD$1 million was handed over to a tearful Mrs. Collette Pryce, Principal of St. Jago High School, to fund a legacy project in honour of Lawrence.

Speaking to Sportsmax.TV following the presentation, Mrs. Pryce expressed her gratitude for the generous donation and reflected on the profound impact of Lawrence's legacy. She described Lawrence as a "walking encyclopedia" whose wealth of knowledge and dedication left an indelible mark on all who knew him.

Mrs. Pryce also emphasized the importance of preserving Lawrence's memory for future generations. She mentioned the void left by Lawrence's passing and the community's determination to honor his memory in a meaningful way.

“It is a huge loss. Personally, I was with him the Wednesday (February 21), before he died. We had plans. One of the things I wanted to see was a book for our school for first formers to know the stories of St. Jago and Hubert had all the stories about all the headmasters, about all the characters and I think we have lost a lot because most of it was not recorded and there is this void that we’re feeling right now and we are hoping that someone can step up but the community is shaken.

“He never left St Jago, so we knew him and we are speechless and tonight (Saturday) was difficult. I have been getting the messages from the Diaspora, from persons in Jamaica and they really want to thank Grace for recognizing our school in honour of Hubert, we know that he would have wanted that and we will need time to think this through but it’s a huge loss.”

Mrs. Pryce revealed plans to form a committee comprising Lawrence's friends and family to ensure that any tribute truly reflects his greatness.

“St Jago is 280 years old this year and we are doing a number of activities and Hubert’s legacy is huge. For me, it’s larger than life, heroic and so for the next 280 years Hubert’s name, his work must be in the annals of St Jago High School.

“So, a committee will have to work on this, his friends, we would love for them to be involved in this along with his family, so that whatever we so will really recognize his greatness.”

 

Karen Mussington, Sponsorship and Events Manager at GraceKennedy, shed light on the company's decision to honour Lawrence and the emotional significance of the tribute. She recalled Lawrence's integral role in sporting events over the years, stating, "What is Champs without Hubert? Personally, I can't remember having Champs, other than this one, without hearing his voice."

She recounted the emotional response from Mrs. Pryce upon learning of GraceKennedy's intention to donate to St. Jago High School in Lawrence's honour, underscoring the deep impact of Lawrence's legacy.

“When I called Mrs. Pryce to tell her what our intention was, she cried,” Mussington stated while recalling how the tribute came together.

“We thought we would get persons close to him to talk about him, Bruce (James), Dwayne Extol, that looked up to him, our brand ambassadors. Shelly talked about him giving her the name ‘Pocket Rocket’, so we thought we’d just put together that tribute for him. It was well received by the stadium and then, not only the tribute, but to make this meaningful donation to his beloved alma mater, St Jago and we will be working with Mrs Pryce to get a project done in his honour.”

While details of the legacy project are yet to be finalized, Mussington hinted at its focus on sports in line with Lawrence's passion and St. Jago High School's active involvement in athletics. She assured that GraceKennedy would continue to collaborate with Mrs. Pryce to ensure that Lawrence's memory is honored in a meaningful and lasting way.

“We definitely want it in line with sports because that was him and St Jago is very active in sports, especially athletics. So we want to something down that line but we have to speak with Mrs Pryce. There will definitely be a part two to this, it is a meaningful story but whatever it is it is going to be in his honour.”

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Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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