The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs announced the names of the Grand Marshals for this year's May 24th Parade --- Debbie Jones-Hunter, Flora Duffy, Katura Horton-Perinchief, Cal Simons, Clarence Hill and Frederick “Skipper” Ingham.
Grand Marshals are official overseers of the parade, selected because of their strong association to the Heritage Month theme. This year's Heritage Month Theme is, 'Our Sporting Heritage', which is what made the selection of these particular individuals so fitting.
The Grand Marshals were nominated by the Heritage Advisory Committee who considered a wide range of individuals in the sporting world.
"We try to pick a diverse range of Grand Marshals in terms of age, gender, and accomplishments," explained Director of Community and Cultural Affairs Heather Whalen. "We also wanted to acknowledge that the people behind-the-scenes play just as important a part as the athletes themselves."
"The 2017 Heritage Month theme is a celebration of Bermudian sporting heroes and Bermuda’s favourite sports and games. From the fierce loyalty to Cup Match teams, to the rallying unity to support a Bermudian Olympian, Bermuda has continued to build a sporting heritage to be proud of."
Please see below for the biographies of this year's Grand Marshals:
Frederick “Skipper” Ingham
Until 1970 it was impossible for people in Bermuda to study martial arts. Then Grand-Master Skipper Ingham changed that situation by opening Bermuda’s first ever martial arts school, the Bermuda Karate Institute. Two years later, he gave Bermuda another 'first' by promoting the first karate tournament ever to be held in Bermuda. Since then, he has taught hundreds of people karate while also training many to represent Bermuda abroad in international tournaments and championships. Bermuda’s highest ranking martial artist, Skipper holds a 10th degree black belt rank, and has successfully competed in numerous international martial arts events. He has also been featured in many martial arts magazines and appeared on the cover of “Black Belt” magazine. In 1994 he was the first martial artist to receive the Queen's Certificate and Badge of Honour for his contributions to the martial arts in Bermuda. In 2007 he was inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame.
From an early age, Cal Simons showed a keen interest in sport, particularly in competitive track and field. But he also knew early on that he wanted to be a physical education and health teacher. Today he looks back on a successful life dedicated to helping the development of young people in Bermuda through his roles as teacher, coach, football referee and administrator of track and field events. He began his career as a teacher at West End Primary in 1981 and in the same year was a founding member and volunteer head coach of the Bermuda Pacers Track Club. Through his coaching, he has trained innumerable athletes between the ages of seven and 18 in various track and field events. In addition, he has spent over 18 years as a referee for the Bermuda Football Association and was on the FIFA list from 1994-1996. For at least 15 years he has been coaching junior footballers at the Pembroke Hamilton Club. In 2005 he became the Senior Sport Development Officer at the Department of Youth, Sport & Recreation. He has received many awards, including the Queen's Certificate and Badge of Honour in 1996, the 2002 Teacher of the Year award, as well as the Bermuda Government Sport Citation Award (1989) and a Bermuda Olympic Association/IOC award for his commitment to the development of track and field in Bermuda.
When she was five, Katura Horton-Perinchief was one of the only girls in her neighbourhood to dive off the rocks and the bridges – Somerset Bridge to begin with, and then Watford Bridge when she was older. Her mother noticed her talent and arranged for her to have lessons in Toronto, where they lived at the time. At age seven, she was diving competitively in Canada and by 15 she was the Canadian National Champion, regularly winning gold medals. She represented Bermuda many times at the international level, including twice in the Commonwealth Games, and in the Pan American Games. She represented Bermuda in diving in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens, where she was the first Bermudian woman, and the first woman of African descent from any nation ever to do so. She has a Masters in Public Health and Business. Today, her profession is managing the Bermuda National Tumour Registry. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Bermuda Olympic Association. During the summer she conducts her STAR diving camp which she founded in 2014 for children aged five to 14.
In 2016 triathlon athlete Flora Duffy represented Bermuda in the Rio Summer Olympics. That same year she also won three world championships, becoming the ITU World Champion, the Xterra World Champion and the ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion. Previously she was the winner of theXterra World Championships in 2014 and 2015, as well as of the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship in 2015. She is a three-time Olympian, having also participated in the 2008 Games in Beijing and the 2012 Games in London. She currently has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo. After that she plans to switch to long course racing. Unfortunately, Flora will not be home for the parade due to her training and race schedule; we wish her the best of luck!
Now Chief Executive Officer of the Bermuda Anti Doping Authority (BSADA), former track and field athlete Debbie Jones-Hunter can look back on a litany of sporting awards and accomplishments she has achieved during her lifetime. She still holds the record for winning the most medals in the Carifta Games - a total of 21 - and is the current holder of Bermuda’s National Sprint Records in the 200 and 400 metres. She received the Austin Sealey Award for outstanding performance during the 1977 Carifta Games in Barbados, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Award,the Bermuda’s Sports Citation Award, and the Bermuda’s Athlete of the Decade Award for 1970 -1979. She won Bermuda’s first gold medal in international competition at the 1993 Central and Caribbean Games in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Clarence Hill received a bronze medal for heavy weight boxing at the 1976 Summer Olympics, in Montreal. He was the first Bermudian ever to win a Summer Olympic medal and to date is still the only one to do so. His win gave Bermuda the accolade of being the smallest nation and the least populated nation to win a Summer Olympics medal. After the Olympic games, he became a professional boxer with a record of 18 wins, three losses and a draw. In 2005 he was inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame. Convinced that boxing keeps young men "off the street" and gives them self-worth, today he helps young men to train and speaks to school children about the importance of leading self-disciplined and drug free lives.