Family members and friends of veteran television presenter Allyson Hennessy are hailing her as a humanitarian.They also remember her as a great supporter of T&T's culture.Hennessy, 63, of Petit Valley, died around 10.30 pm on Saturday at the St Clair Medical Centre in Port-of-Spain. She had been admitted to the centre since April 8 from an illness which relatives have not disclosed.She was co-owner of the Veni Mange West Indian Restaurant on Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain.
The name of the restaurant which means "come and eat" was given by television personality Holly Beteaudier, her good friend, who over the years, co-hosted several cultural shows with her. Hennessy who was trained in the United Kingdom studied cordon bleu cooking and was invited to share a television cooking segment on TTT.She hosted the programme Community Dateline for several years, with personalities such as Wendell Constantine, Judy Alcantara, Lisa Wickham and Judy Chong Dennison.She co-hosted The Box a daily TV talk show on Gayelle, and hosted many Carnival activities and events.She had been married to fellow journalist Emmett Hennessy. In an interview yesterday, Constantine said he worked with Hennessy for more than ten years."The broadcasting community is saddened by Allyson's passing," he said."She afforded an opportunity to many young deserving talents on television.
"Her service to the national community should never be unrecognised whether it be in support of the Best Village programme, in community activities via Dateline or in the promotion of culture at Carnival time."Constantine said Hennessy's training in cordon bleu led to her to open popular Veni Mange restaurant."Her training as a cordon bleu led to what is a permanent fixture in Veni Mange and her service to the poor in the community was an example to follow," he said."We must never forget those who have made it possible for others to succeed. Her sisters were involved in the first inclusive Carnival fete to raise funds for charity."
Hennessy's close friend, Pixie Du Coudray, said they spent most of their lives together taking part in the same events."We went to the same boarding school and joined the Magnolia Hockey Club together," she said. "She was our biggest cheerleader. She would babysit our children while we played. We did a lot of Carnival events together and Dateline."She said Hennessy had love for women and was compassionate to their plight."It is a terrible loss but in the inner circle," she said."Allyson's heart is bigger than her. She also cared for her mom and sisters, Judy, Rose and Sheila."
Her sister, Rosemary Hezekiah, said: "As family I believe she meant more to us. We are heartbroken and we know she would want us to continue and be strong. She enjoyed life to the full and we need to continue the work she started."Hennessy's husband, Emmett, said they had been together since 1964 and were married 37 years. He was overcome with grief as he spoke briefly with the media at the family's home at Monte Verde in Petit Valley yesterday.He said: "I feel helpless...I lost my best friend. She ran my life and now her sister (Rose) will. I need moral support so I am going to their home (in Cascade)."He said he wanted Allyson to be remembered as a lover of humanity."She loved everybody and everything in life...She was a good person," Emmett said. (See Page A6)