Sep 29, 2020 Sports
Hundreds, including numerous former and present cyclists, motorbike riders, family, friends and well-wishers joined the funeral proceedings of the late national cycling champion Wilbert (“Willy”, “Benjie”) Benjamin. The late National Champion, entrepreneur and Philanthropist was laid to rest on Sunday in his home of Fyrish, Corentyne, Berbice.
It was a very emotionally filled atmosphere as dozens gave tributes of the life and legacy of the Country Boy who progressed to become a Champion.
Even as Benjamin was laid to rest, the sports and cycling fraternity are still grappling with the sudden demise of the 49 year old, who, died a few weeks shy of his 50th birthday. Benjamin, who hails from Fyrish and lived in Canada, was a member of the Flying Ace Cycle Club (FACC) until his demise.
The funeral procession moved off from the Persaud Funeral Parlour around 11:00am where Benjamin Brother and riding partner Gary and members of the FACC and other cyclists along with Bike Riders led the procession to his home and place of business at Courtland, Corentyne.
There a ceremony was held led by his wife and five daughters and many well-wishers.
It then passed by his parents’ home and then taken to the Fyrish Basketball Court where a stirring Funeral Service was held. The officiating Priest was Reverend Ingrid Peters. The Eulogy was given by his sister and former Cyclist Cindy Benjamin-Loncke.
The FACC and The Guyana Cycling Federation were among those giving tributes.Benjamin was described as the best father and family man in the world, as loving kind hearted, selfless, caring, and giving among other things. He was hailed as an entrepreneur, a philanthropist among other adjectives for his benevolent ways.
He began his cycling career at school, after dominating to win three consecutive School championships. He represented Guyana at both the senior and junior level on a number of occasions.
After migrating he continued riding and set up businesses in both Guyana and Canada. In Guyana he owned the Benjamin Sports Store, Fitness Center and Car Wash at Courtland, Corentyne, Berbice. He also owned the Benjamin Sports Store in Canada and had his own brand of sportswear and equipment.
He was still an active rider both in Guyana and Canada when he died and would return home on a regular basis to take care of his business, compete and do benevolent work.
Benjamin died at the Georgetown Public Hospital almost one month after he was involved in an accident on the morning of Friday 14th on the Hampshire Public Road.
He was out training when a motor car drove out in front of him causing a collision between him and the motorcycle.
He fell unconscious and was taken to the Anamayah Memorial Hospital and underwent a number of CT scans which seemed not to detect underlying injuries to his head that would contribute to his eventual demise after he began to complain of constant headaches.
His condition deteriorated and he was taken to the Anamayah Memorial Hospital (AMH) where another scan was done and it was then his family were told that he had suffered a broken skull, there was bleeding internally and a swelling which was pressing against his brain. He was eventually switched to the Georgetown Hospital for further emergency treatment where he succumbed.
He leaves to mourn his wife and five daughters along with his elderly father and mother along with eight siblings, four brothers and four sisters, numerous relatives and friends. (Samuel Whyte)
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