The Maria Holder Memorial Trust celebrated its 10th Anniversary as a Registered Charity in Barbados on Saturday, 27 July 2019 at the Barbados Defence Force, St. Ann’s Fort, St. Michael.

The celebration was only improved by its attendees, Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason, Governor General of Barbados, was in attendance and a special video message was delivered by the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, Ministers, partners and beneficiaries of The Maria Holder Memorial Trust.

It was a memorable evening not only for the guests but also for the Board of Trustees of The Maria Holder Memorial Trust as beneficiaries of the Trust both in Barbados and other Caribbean Islands took to the stage to share their experiences of the impact made and to say thank you to The Maria Holder Memorial Trust for the contributions made over the last ten years.

The Donees described how the funding received assisted not only the Non-Governmental Organisations intended recipients but also how it touched and improved the lives of the families. Some Donees also spoke of how gaining the funding affected them on a personal level and encouraged them to continue to follow their chosen paths.

The Chairman was visibly moved as Dorothy Cooke-Johnson paid tribute and spoke fondly of meeting his mother (Maria Holder) at the Barbados Cancer Society when it was less than a week old and her generous contribution to the Society at that time.

She went on to state “That was a great gift. Totally unexpected. I was amazed that she would be so thoughtful as to do it! To trust us and to help us so early on. She gave us the power to get started. She gave me great encouragement and put trust in my efforts. Her mischievous smile turned to laughter as she evaluated my facial expressions from disbelief to complete gratitude, acceptance, and relief. I will always remember that first meeting.

It was nearly forty years ago. I remember Maria’s humour, her genuine interest in the Society, and the voluntary work she did on our membership. These recollections explain to me the driving force behind the series of immense benefits to Barbados which have come through both Christopher Holder and Chesterfield Brewster, who have focused on ensuring that her devotion to Barbados is perpetuated and celebrated so tangibly through an impressive series of invaluable contributions to children and her special causes”.

The evenings surprises where just getting started as the Chairman was presented with a framed picture of his late mother, Maria Holder and his late Sister, Marina Brewster by his Executive Team, a picture that is very dear to his heart, which he thought was lost.

The grant recipients also presented tokens of their appreciation to The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, in the form of photos, paintings and trophies.

Dr. Marion Pierre of the Queen Elizabeth Home for Children in Grenada, a close friend of Maria Holder and a mentor and good friend to both Christopher Holder and Chesterfield Brewster was riveting in her speech as she extolled the virtues of The Maria Holder Memorial Trust and the benefits not only to the Queen Elizabeth Home for Children but to the people of Grenada over the past years that it has been a benefactor.

Other guest speakers included Cicely Spencer-Cross of the Barbados Association of Drama Educators; her profession came to the fore through her dramatic and thought provoking speech. Also sharing the stage was Mrs. Shelly Boyce, Principal of the Maria Holder Nursery School, Sharon and the first Principal of the Maria Holder Nursery Schools, as she spoke about the great honour and responsibility of this post. Sue McMillian of the Barbados Council for the Disabled, More Than Words programme spoke about the opportunity provided to a young graduate with a dream in her heart of assisting autistic children and how gratified she was then by the support of The Maria Holder Memorial Trust through the years.

With speeches and tributes too long to quote, The Maria Holder Memorial Trust would like to say thank you to all of the speakers of the evening; Kerry-Ann Ifill, The Barbados Council for the Disabled, Marilyn Rice-Bowen, National Organisation of Women, Cecily Clarke-Richmond, the President and Marcia Graham the immediate past Director of PAREDOS, Sue Farley, World Pediatric Project (USA), Dale Neptune, NEWLO, (Grenada), Kemar Saffrey, Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society and Mark Maguire of Cooper Kauffman Consultancy.

A special thank you the Barbados Defence Force for their contribution and especially to the performers; the St. Leonard’s 100 Boys Choir; Operation Triple Threat; Pineland Creative Workshop; Mrs. Lynette ‘Larix’ Caines, Keriann ‘Sirrah’ Hurley and Jai Simone accompanied by Shane Jones, Keyboardist; Wesley Morris, Violinist and Akeem Burke, Saxophonist who thrilled us with their musical renditions in song and instrumentals.

However, The Maria Holder Memorial Trust is all about giving, so that night was no exception as members of staff were awarded for their service, commitment and dedication. A lottery was held in keeping with the theme of the 10th Anniversary. 10 names were randomly selected from the attendees list and each winner was granted a sum to be gifted to a Charity of their choice.

The 10th Anniversary was not just about celebrating the accomplishments of the last 10 years but a reaffirmation of what can be accomplished going forward!

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