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Community : Obituaries Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

Freeport, Bahamas memorial held for Sir Jack Hayward
By The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Feb 27, 2015 - 5:11:56 PM

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Seen at top is Sarah St. George; Erika Gates; and Rick Hayward. (Photos by David Mackey - Mackey Media Ltd)

Freeport, The Bahamas - A Memorial Service was held for Sir Jack A. Hayward, Kt., OBE on February 23, 2015 at the Pro-Cathedral of Christ of the King, East Atlantic Drive, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. The Service was officiated by Archdeacon Harry Bain. The Grand Bahama Children's Choir performed during the service.

In attendance was the Rt Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas; Hon. Hubert Ingraham, Former Prime Minister; members of parliament; local dignitaries; members of civic and charity groups; friends and family. 

Sir Jack, as he was affectionately known, passed away on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 91 years.

He was survived by his wife Lady Hayward, and his partner of many years, Mrs. Patricia Bloom, who was at his side throughout his illness. He is also mourned by his sons, Rick and Jonathan, his daughter, Susan, his grandchildren – Rupert, Giles, Francesca, Rosie, Bertie, Alexander, Nico, Emma, Rory and Laura – and four great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, it was requested that donations be made to the many charities that were dear to Sir Jack Hayward’s heart, namely – Grand Bahama Humane Society, the Sir Jack Hayward Soccer Camp, G. B. Sailing Club, YMCA, Freeport Players Guild, Salvation Army, Jack Hayward High School, Rugby Club, Sir Charles Hayward Library, Bahamas National Trust and the Cancer Association.

Eulogy delivered by Mrs. Erika Gates:

Good afternoon,
My name is Erika Gates and I am honored to have been asked to give the eulogy of a truly remarkable man who played a major role in the development of this island that we call home. 

I can’t remember the exact date or occasion that I first met Sir Jack - I have been a citizen of the Bahamas and a resident of Freeport since the early seventies, but he was here at least 14 years before I arrived.

However, through my contacts with him over the span of those 40 plus years it became clear to me and certainly to those who knew him well, that he had a genuine love for this island and its people and a burning desire to see it grow and prosper.

Sir Jack Hayward, as he later became known, following his knighthood in 1986, was the only child born to Charles and Hilda Hayward on June 14, 1923 in Wolverhampton, England.

At the young age of 18, Jack volunteered to join the Royal Air Force. This took him to the Far East –  India, Burma and Rangoon, where he flew  ammunitions, guns, food and medical supplies.  He was proud of his service to his country.    
Like so many of his generation, his time in the Royal Air Force and the experiences of World War II, left a mark on Sir Jack, so much so, that seventy [70] years later, it was the theme for his 90th birthday celebration.

Seen at top is Former Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Hubert Ingraham; Mrs. Patricia Bloom; and Rick Hayward. (Photos by David Mackey - TheBahamasWeekly.com)

After his time served, he joined the family business. His father, Charles, was a successful business man who, in his lifetime, headed a variety of companies in numerous countries.

In his early 20’s, Jack, was sent to other parts of the world to expand the family's business interests. He had visited the Bahamas before, during the war, when he spent a week's leave in Nassau before he earned his wings from his RAF training in Florida. He had always wanted to return.  

He set up a home in Nassau with his wife Jean and daughter Sue and became based in New York where he worked long hours to expand the business. He travelled from the US to Nassau for visits with his growing family and in the early 50’s Jack moved to Nassau where son Rick was born in 1952 and son Jonathan in 1957. 

He learned the value of the dollar as he lived on a tight budget. It may surprise some of you to hear this, but it probably explains the incredible level of Sir Jack’s charitable donations later on.

His father, Charles Hayward, became interested in Grand Bahama Island after being introduced to Mr. Wallace Groves by the Earl of Ranfurly. The Earl wanted Charles Hayward to invest in Nassau, however, he was persuaded by Wallace Groves to take a look at Grand Bahama Island. In those days the island was in a state of transformation, while harbour dredging was in progress by Daniel K. Ludwig but it still lacked much basic infrastructure. The only means of travel to the island was by boat or float plane and the senior Hayward arrived by the latter.

(Photos by David Mackey - Mackey Media Ltd)
Mr. Groves drove Charles Hayward around the island in a Land Rover, all the while describing his vision of developing 230 square miles of pine barren to create the city of 'Freeport', following the signing of The Hawksbill Creek Agreement on August 4, 1955. Hayward flew back to Nassau and stated that Groves’ vision was a ‘mad dream’! Nevertheless, the senior Hayward invested substantially. The rest, as they say is history...

Jack was sent to look after the family interest on Grand Bahama and relocated his young family to Freeport.

Through the years, as the Chairman of The Grand Bahama Development Company, he endured the many hardships of a young pioneer.  There were many highs and lows during these past years. He along with his partner, Edward St. George, enticed many foreign businesses to see the potential of this “magic” city and invest here.
When we drive along the streets today we are reminded of Sir Jack at virtually every corner due to street signs that he designated to have names like Churchill Drive, Sherwood Lane or Ranfurly Circle. He wanted this island to be different.  He used terms such as ‘Circle’ instead of ‘Roundabout’ or ‘Rumbles instead of ‘Speedbumps’… He brought over red double decker buses, telephone booths, pillar post boxes that were bright red and British and made this former colony different… something that is a part of our country’s history!

I am sure many of you attending this Service today, and those who will speak after me, will be able to recount many a tale involving Sir Jack and the growth and development of Freeport, which were near and dear to his heart. One thing is certain; he was passionate about Freeport until the very end.

(Photos by David Mackey - TheBahamasWeekly.com)
The Sir Jack that we will fondly remember was a man who shared his love, friendship and concern for the people of Grand Bahama Island. He was always full of encouragement. Each time that he saw me, he wanted to find out how things were progressing with my nature tour business. He was sincerely interested in, and keen to see small businesses grow and prosper. Sir Jack believed that if a business was able to sustain itself, then it contributed to the success of Freeport and the benefit of the people of this island. When development was taking place he made sure that the environment and sustainability of the natural beauty of the island were taken into consideration, even rainfall was important to him as he was aware that our island and its people depended on it for drinking water.

Sir Jack was a privileged man, but he remained humble. He knew and walked with royalty. In 1994, the Queen and Prince Philip made an official visit to Grand Bahama Island.  During this visit, their busy schedule included officially opening the Hugh Campbell School, the Courthouse and greeting the public at the Lucayan Beach Hotel. He hosted a special luncheon at his residence for the Queen and her entourage.  Though he walked with royalty, in many ways, he was a common man and had the ability to talk to anyone, no matter what their standing in society.

Sir Jack was often teased about his rumpled suits, his seemingly uncombed hair and the old land rover he drove; but this never fazed him.  He knew every inch of the island and as he drove around, he was checking for and reporting potholes, stray and hungry animals, road signs that were spelled incorrectly and litter strewn alongside the streets. He was a stickler for getting things done and doing things correctly, and he only had to say something once to get his point across [if you know what I mean]!

Sir Jack nourished the growth of the island by personally getting involved in many charities and organizations, such as the YMCA, the Bahamas National Trust, the Salvation Army, the Cancer Association, the Jack Hayward High School, the Sir Jack Hayward Youth Soccer Club, the Grand Bahama Sailing Club, the Sir Charles Hayward Library and many more. Together with Francis Singer Hayward he dedicated time and resources to create a state-of-the-art Humane Society and Animal Shelter that would match any such facility in the U.S. And how can we forget his passion for the Regency Theatre and his performances on stage (preferably comedy!) with the Freeport Players Guild, that brought joy and laughter to the community! Where would we be today without Sir Jack’s support for these organizations and projects! 

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister, Brave Davis. (Photo by David Mackey - TheBahamasWeekly.com)
These are some of the local charities known to us, however, there are countless others, globally, that we may never know about. A few that we have become aware of, however, are his funding of the restoration of the last Vulcan aircraft from World War two and his contribution to the hospitals in the Falkland Islands during the war with Argentina. His patronage through ownership of the Wolverhampton Wolves Soccer Team was acknowledged by the emotional tribute paid by thousands of fans in the stadium after his passing.

His compassion for others will be gratefully remembered and eternally appreciated. Sir Jack set the example of caring and sharing and we all need to recognize that we should do our part to sustain the organizations that cater to those in need, for we are indeed our brother’s keeper.

Sir Jack was known for his wit and dry sense of humour. He earned the right to speak out and to say what was on his mind. His vision of a project called “Grabaco”, meaning, connecting Grand Bahama and Abaco by a bridge, will long be remembered. Another bridge which will carry his name, is nearing completion on Grand Bahama Highway. This bridge was important to him out of concern for the people in East Grand Bahama, because, if anything happened to the Casuarina bridge, they would be cut off from the rest of the island.  

Towards the end of his life, Sir Jack had a real sense of urgency to get things done! He was passionate about having a Museum on Grand Bahama Island and just this past October he designated the land and former clubhouse at the old Shannon Golf Course for this vision to become a reality. It was his wish that the museum of Grand Bahama would document the colourful history of this great island, a history that should be honoured and passed down to our children. I feel privileged to have been asked by Sir Jack to become involved in this project and with public, corporate and government support we can make Sir Jack’s vision a reality!

He recently said, “The Bahamas could be the greatest little country in the world”.

(Photo by David Mackey - Mackey Media Ltd)

Sir Jack, you spent your lifetime believing in, and promoting this island and country, we, therefore, pledge to do our part to make The Bahamas the greatest little country in the world!

Today, at your final farewell, you are surrounded by leaders of our country, members of all segments of our community, your friends, staff and colleagues as well as your family and your loving companion Patti and her family - may you rest in peace – and as you would be saying now: WELL DONE!!!

Bahamas PM Describes Sir Jack as a Key Contributor to the Development of the Country

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The Memorial Programme is attached below:

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