Umpire Vyphuis given fitting farewell
- WICB Director gives tribute at funeral
By Sean Devers
By the time the Almighty made the decision last Friday night that gave Compton Vyphuis out at 75, the former Test cricket umpire had enjoyed a full life and made an indomitable contribution to society as a sport ambassador.
Vyphuis, who stood in six Test matches and two One Day Internationals, (including the inaugural match in the West Indies at Albion) was laid to rest yesterday at the Le Repentir Cemetery after a moving church service.
Reverend Rhonda Abrams of the Church of God conducted the service for Vyphuis, who died after a short illness. One of only six Guyanese to stand in a Test match, Vyphuis would have been 76 on May 30 this year.
He umpired his last Test match in 1978 in Trinidad and Tobago when the West Indies played Australia.
A former President of the Guyana Cricket Umpires’ Council (GCUC), Vyphuis served the organisation for 58 years and officiated as Match Referee for the last ten years with his final duties during the President’s Cup in November.
Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) honoured him in 2000 for his long and distinguished service to the sport. The Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club followed suit in 2007 through their Tribute to Heroes Programme.
He was the son of the late Irene and Harry Vyphuis and was the husband of the late Doris Vyphuis and the father of six children from two unions.
Among those paying tributes yesterday were West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Director and GCB President, Chetram Singh, who said that Vyphuis’ death is a major loss to Guyana’s cricket while expressing condolences.
Dressed in a dapper cream–coloured suite, the grandfather of five appeared to be sleeping peacefully as messages from several of crickets stalwarts flowed.
Among those paying tributes were the president, secretary and past president of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WCUA) and International Cricket Council (ICC) Test umpire, Billy Doctrove among others.
President of the Georgetown Cricket Umpires’ Council, Grantley Culbard read Doctrove’s message, which stated that “it seems like our senior Umpires have decided they have seen enough and have gone to form an elite panel in heaven”.
The message was referring to the passing of the former Barbadian Test umpire Stanton Parris earlier this month. Former West Indies player, Roger Harper, Mark Harper, national selector Lennox Hunte, new GCB vice–president, Bissoon Singh, GCUC President, umpire Colin Alfred, Test umpire Eddy Nichols and ICC umpire, Clyde Duncan were among the list of well–known cricket personalities present at yesterday’s funeral.
Brian Taylor read the eulogy while Vyphuis’ son, Harry Vyphuis recited a ‘touching’ poem. Hilton ‘Tattie’ Lewis, a long time friend of Vyphuis eloquently delivered a poem he had written for his friend.
“Everyone is unique…compare yourself not with others least you spoil God’s plan for you” Lewis told the packed church.
Lewis described Vyphuis as someone who never compromised his principles or backed down from challenges while his son said his father was a sporting icon and someone who strived to uphold the highest standards.
Vyphuis stood in his last ODI match in 1983 when West Indies played England and was to also umpire in the seven Tests.
Vyphuis was selected for the Guyana Test match between West Indies and England in the 1981 series but then President, Forbes Burnham banned England player Robin Jackman for his involvement in the rebel tour.
Jackman had participated in the then apartheid ruled South Africa and the match was switched to another territory.
Members of the GCUC, who were clad in green blazers, took the body of the late stalwart into the church. Vyphuis’ son and other relatives were also pallbearers when the body was removed from the church.
Umpires formed two lines through which the coffin with Vyphuis’ body was taken on its way to the hearse that transported him to his final resting place.