Hundreds of people, including government officials, family, friends and well-wishers, turned out to pay tribute to television personality Allyson Hennessy yesterday.Hennessy's close friend cricketer Brian Lara delivered an emotional eulogy at St Finbar's RC Church, Diego Martin.Musical tributes came from Hennessy's favourite steelband Desperadoes, Jason Seecharan of H2O Phlo, pannist Len "Boogsie" Sharpe and Hennessy's colleague, Wendell Constantine.Lara told the congregation that although Hennessy was always very close to the women in her life, the bond she had with "her boys" was a very special one.
Lara, who along with sports personalities Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy formed part of that special group known as Allyson's "boys", appeared emotional as he spoke about his close friend.He said Hennessy aroused in him everything a mother, sister and friend would.He said after scoring a century during a cricket match he turned to the stands where Hennessy was sitting and gave a salute with his bat.He said the moment struck him as divine because a few years previously he had made that exact gesture to his mother who had sat in the same spot as Hennessy.
Many well-wishers felt mere words could not describe Hennessy. The litany of positive adjectives ranged from generous, patriotic and vivacious to sincere and genuinely caring.Sally Hospedales, who delivered a eulogy as did Lara, said Hennessy would be remembered for her belief that T&T did not need to copy foreign ideals to be excellent.She recalled that every Monday Hennessy would gather food and go to Port-of-Spain to feed the poor.Hospedales said Hennessy would be remembered for her love of sport, steelband and especially Carnival.
She said she could remember Hennessy saying the day you don't see her playing mas would be because she was dead.This elicited smiles from several family members and well-wishers.Hospedales commended the staff of the St Clair Medical Centre for their care during Hennessy's month-long stay.Officiating priest, Fr Jason Gordon, encouraged the large congregation to live life as fully and as generously as Hennessy did."If Trinidad had a heart and that heart resided in a person, then Allyson Hennessy was as good as anyone to carry that heart," said Fr Gordon.Also attending the funeral were Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley, Sports Minister Anil Roberts and other Government ministers.Prominent personalities including fashion designer Meiling, Wendy Fitzwilliam, Peter Minshall, Penelope Spencer, Shurwayne Winchester and countless others were present.The service ended with a tearful farewell as David Rudder gave a personalised performance of Sparrow's Memories.Hennessy's relatives could be seen smiling through tears as Rudder sang the modified lyrics: "Allyson I'll always remember you, jumping when a steelband pass, playing mas."