By Franklin Wilson
The atmosphere was solemn and calm which symbolised the life lived by former National Footballer turned Administrator, the Late Winston Alwyn Callender (October 12, 1944 – December 24, 2017) whose ashes were entombed at the St. James the Less Anglican Church Cemetery yesterday afternoon.
The David Street Kitty based Church which is home to Callender, a faithful worshiper, was the same venue where dozens of his family and friends turned out to pay their final respects to a man who was remembered as a true stalwart of the soil.
The celebrant of the Thanksgiving Service, Reverend Clifton Elias expressed his delight in seeing so many males turn out and credited their attendance to the late Callender who was born in Cane Grove, East Coast Demerara but grew up in Kitty.
Tributes which sought to sum up the life and exploits of the man who was also known as ‘Chalkie’, ‘Cally’ and ‘Sultan’ were many. Those that were read came from former National Coach and International Commentator Joseph ‘Reds’ Pereira, Chris and Bobby Fernandes and Gerry Gouveia.
Callender played football with the Fernandes brothers at the Georgetown Football Club and were regarded as a fierce trio back in the days. Long time friend, Attorney Stanley Moore took the congregation down memory lane in recollecting the many good traits of ‘Cally’ whose football career kicked off with the Northern Ranger FC based in Kitty as a fierce defender who went on to become one of the best at the club and National levels.
Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Executive Committee Member Dion Inniss extended condolences on behalf of President Forde who was unavoidably absent and the football community.
“I wish to extend heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Callender, their children other relatives and friends on the passing of Winston. His unselfish and dedicated service to football as player and administrator is most laudable and will never be forgotten. His calming demeanor was many times a source of inspiration at many heated General Council meetings in his day as a GFF Executive. His place in the annals of the sport locally is assured, may these cherished memories live on.”
Former Guyana Football Federation President Colin Klass under whose administration Callender served as First Vice President also reflected on his former colleague’s life recalling that he was also conferred with Honorary Membership of the Federation.
David Gomes, a Banks DIH employee also reflected on the life of his former work colleague and neighbor whom he said was an inspiration to him in his early playing days at the GFC. Gomes recalled that ‘Cally’ who was also the GFC First Division Hockey team Goalkeeper allowed him the opportunity to play against Suriname based club Leo Victor.
“Leo Victor was on tour here and had defeated every club they played and for their final game it was a game against GFC and Cally told me that they cannot beat GFC. His expert knowledge of the game came to the fore as his plans to smother the attacking instincts of the visitors paid off; GFC came out 1-0 winners.”
Numerous persons paying tributes also recalled Callender as an equally competent cricketer. He was remembered as someone who loved to assist young players and even though he was a fierce player, he always wore a smile.
An injury put paid to Chalkie’s playing career but such was his love for the sport of football that he ventured into the realms of administration and was equally effective in his contributions to the growth and development of the sport.
In his blossoming administrative career, Callender also served as the President of the Georgetown Football League (GFL).
Callender died on December 24, 2017 in his adopted homeland, USA and was later cremated following a Church Service on December 27 at the Denis S. O’Connor Funeral Home. His ashes were brought back to his homeland and interred yesterday.
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