Sporting stalwart Sefton Lawrence passes on
For the second time in just under three months, the St James netball fraternity has been thrown into mourning with the death of a stalwart.
Last Tuesday, former president Sefton Lawrence died at the Cornwall Regional Hospital from complications associated with diabetes.
Lawrence's death comes sharply on the heels of the passing of Aneita Robinson, a highly respected youth coach who lost her battle with cancer in June.
Unlike Robinson, whose sporting involvement revolved solely around netball, Lawrence was a kind of jack of all trades, who had administrative, coaching, officiating, and coordinating ties in sporting disciplines such as track and field, basketball, football, and netball, among other sports.
"He was one of those committed sporting stalwarts who gave so much to so many different sports," said Deon Williams, the president of the Western Basketball Association. "He was also a nice, kind, and caring human being ... . Our sports in western Jamaica has lost a great man."
Lawrence, who was a long-standing member of the Montego Bay Cricket Club, served the organisation for several years in the capacity of overall sports captain and coach of the netball team. He also helped to unearth many of the outstanding talents that have emerged in St James' netball in recent years.
In the 1980s, during his tenure as president of the St James Netball Association, he played a pivotal role in starting the much-respected St James Primary School Netball Competition. He also played a lead role in reforming club netball in the parish, creating a three-tier league. Over time, he qualified himself as a netball umpire and inspired
others to follow his lead.
The dynamic Lawrence was also an ever present figure around track and field, where he served as an organiser of track events and a track official.
He officiated in several top-flight track events in Jamaica, including the annual Boys and Girls' Championships and the Gibson-McCook Relays.
In 2009, he was named patron of the Milo Western Relays for his enviable contribution to sports in western Jamaica.
Lawrence, who also served the Western Hotel Sports Association as a sports coordinator, was presented with the prestigious Sam Sharpe Award in 2009 for his contribution to community development by the St James Municipal Corporation.