Old Boy elevates Old Harbour's D'Cup chances

BY ANDREW HANCEL Observer writer

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

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A past student of the Old Harbour High School has given back to his alma mater that had taught him much during his teenage years.

On Monday, Gilroy Sidden, who attended the institution between 1973 and1978, presented 15 pairs of football boots, shin guards and socks to current school principal Linton Weir, fulfilling a lifelong ambition.

Responding to Sidden's worthy gesture, Weir said: "Sir, we want to say we are very, very appreciative; very, very thankful. It means that Old Harbour High really did a lot for you and that is why you find it deep in your heart to continue to give.

"I must say based on what's happening as it relates to our school, you're going to get good results on your money. Your money is not going to be money that will be invested poorly."

Total cost, inclusive of shipping and other taxable charges for the goods, stands in excess of £600, Sidden told the Jamaica Observer.

"It was always in me to give back to the school. I grew up here. I finished my education here and I always wanted to give back if I possibly could and this was an opportunity for me to do so. And I am happy to do so," said Sidden, 52.

A professional masseuse and fitness instructor, Sidden, who resides in London, England, has been spending some of his time with his alma mater since the summer of 2012, working with several of the school's sport teams.

His personal contribution has not gone unnoticed by the school's headmaster, who would like to see more past students doing likewise.

"If the students who have graduated from the school should give $1,000 each per year, do you know how much more we would be able to do within this school?" Weir asked following an official presentation in his office.

"We had staff development last week... and everybody loved what is happening to the school. And you are wondering (are) the past students are not seeing what's happening?' They need to come on board and help, and that is why we are very happy and very thankful to Mr Gilroy Sidden," he added.

The gear will be preserved for the next daCosta Cup season, with preparation likely to start as early as April. Old Harbour won the Ben Francis KO in 2002, their most noted achievement in schoolboy sport.

Last season's campaign was a major disappointment for many as the team failed to progress from the group stage under coach Uriel Meghie, who was promoted from the junior programme.

He reiterated that the team is in a rebuilding mode and with assistance like that from Sidden, their quest for silverware has been enhanced.

"Its' a wonderful gesture," Meghie said. "The sky is the limit for this programme and I'm grateful... We hope to do well next season. Mr Sidden is fully on board as our fitness coach so we will be more prepared."

As for Sidden, he's just playing his part while talk of reviving a dormant past student association resurfaces every now and then.

"You have to look at what your school give to you and what we can give back to your school. Jamaica is in a time of austerity and things are hard. But if we can afford to give something back hopefully we can get our blessings for that still.

"So if my school did well it's a reflection of me. I have always looked back and romanced about Old Harbour High because it was one of the better parts of my live.

"Hopefully, this is just the beginning of things to come. I've got friends abroad and im looking to raise the interest in them because I know a lot of them are interested, but they don't know how to go about it, so I can be the catalyst for that and be the focal point. They can come to me and make more donations for Old Harbour High," he said.

(From left) Uriel Meghie, head coach of OLd Harbour High School's daCosta Cup football team; Beverly Graham, vice principal; Linton Weir, principal, and Gilroy Sidden, a past student, at the school on Monday. (Photo: Andrew Hancel)




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