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Friends say farewell to avid sportsman

Friday, July 25, 2014
Grief-stricken Marlene Nelson, right, and her sister Charmaine Nelson cry during the funeral service of youth footballer Marcus Lawrence at the Revival Mission Church, George Street, La Romaine, yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

Reshma Ragoonath 

As mourners celebrated the life of youth footballer Marcus Lawrence, praises were showered on his mother Marlene Nelson for raising a well-disciplined young man who inspired young people in La Romaine. 

Lawrence, 21, who died last Friday evening, collapsed during football practice at Skinner Park, San Fernando, after scoring a goal. Lawrence, who played for Club Sando, died from heart failure caused by a defect in the mitral valve. 

Yesterday, Lawrence’s classmates, friends, supporters and relatives gathered at Revival Mission Church, George Street, La Romaine, to say their final farewell to the avid sportsman who was not only a budding footballer, but also a basketballer. He was part of the Hoop of Life 2013 winners—La Romaine Jet Stars club. 

Lawrence, who was laid to rest at the Roodal Public Cemetery, San Fernando, was buried in his formal football uniform and with his AC Milan scarf and Italy t-shirt. 

Officiating, Rev Dr Stephen Mendoza, in his homily, said Nelson, who also has two other children, deserved praise for the job she did raising Lawrence, “a tremendous young man.”

“Raising a tremendous youth like Marcus was not accidential,” he said. 

Nelson, Mendoza said, did a tremendous job raising the youth footballer and her efforts should be replicated by other parents. 

He said there are so many youths in need of parental guidance in T&T and it hurts him as man of God when parents do not take responsibility for their children. 

“When you do not train your children, people will have things like alarms and burglar-proofs. When you hold your child and suckle him you do not want this child to be gunned down, then why when he does the wrong thing when he is small you say ‘leave him he is small.’ Then he turns into a big bandit. Nothing could beat the foundation of a good home,” Mendoza said. 

He urged parents to talk to their children, surround them with positive things.

“Today, we have so many sad youths, stressed youths, those who are thinking about suicide,” Mendoza said.

Yesterday, NESC Debe Campus Manager Bishop Jankee Raghunanan also commended Nelson. 

He said Lawrence, who was a youth development officer in the Revival Mission church, was responsible for the church’s sporting successes at the Tabernacle of Churches annual Easter sports and family day.

He urged mourners that give praise that Lawrence was not “gunned down with twenty bullets.” 

Raghunanan added, “Marcus scored a goal before leaving (this earth). But you know he does not need to score no more goals, now he is walking on gold. He moved from goal to gold.”

Lawrence was one-and-a-half months short of completing his NESC pipe welding and fabrication certification. Yesterday, NESC Point Lisas campus manager Zaid Mohammed said Lawrence will be awarded the certificate even though he did not complete the required attendance.

Lawrence’s best friend Ronnie Bhabikhan, who struggled to maintain his composure, said Lawrence dreamt of becoming a professional footballer. 

Bhabikhan, who delivered the eulogy as a referee officiating a football game blowing a whistle, said Lawrence was “faithful, loved, well-known and an inspiration to one and all.”


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