A sizeable crowd yesterday celebrated and reflected on the life of veteran broadcaster and international civil servant Hugh Cholmondeley who lost his battle to cancer on August 10.
While many fought back tears at the memorial service held at the St George’s Cathedral, there were periodic eruptions of laughter as some of his closest friends, some of whom saw him in his last days, recollected their fondest memories of him.
Reading the eulogy, Senior Counsel Miles Fitzpatrick noted that Cholmondeley was the creator of modern broadcasting in Guyana as the general manager of the Guyana Broadcasting Service; the inspiration behind the birth of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) and the Caribbean News Agency and the Caribbean Institute of Mass Communications at Mona, Jamaica.
Noting that Cholmondeley was the UNESCO administrator based in Jamaica for six years, Fitzpatrick said that he also played an integral part in the creation and development of the Graduate School in Social Sciences in the Caribbean in Jamaica.
Among the other portfolios that he held were: UNDP official in the Caribbean and co-coordinator of hurricane relief in Jamaica, chief of UNDP’s Caribbean Division based in New York, humanitarian co-coordinator of the UN Mission to Somalia and member of UN Missions to Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
Fitzpatrick described Cholmondeley as a comrade who would always be “an indelible part of my memory” and someone who did not compromise when it came to professional matters.
“International civil servant, mediator, media innovator, Rotarian extraordinaire, sensitive and empathic family man, humorous and priceless friend, nothing can fill the void he has left in our lives,” he said.
Before the eulogy, there were hymns, readings and a prayer followed by messages from the Rotary Club of Georgetown of which Cholmondeley was an active member; UNESCO, CBU and Caricom, all of which portrayed fond memories while offering his grieving relatives comfort and support.
Later, his brother Colin recalled intimate details of their childhood days as well noting that from early it was evident that Cholmondeley was destined to be a broadcaster.
Dave Martins gave his tribute in song using his guitar and described Cholmon-deley as a “stalwart man”. Also giving tributes were Rafiq Khan, Dik Henderson and Cecil Pilgrim who all portrayed Cholmondeley as a humble, kind and friendly individual who will leave a lasting impression on scores of people.