Entertainment: Youngsters from Middletown have formed a dance group, the Bermuda Youth Squad. *Photo by Amanda Dale
Entertainment: Youngsters from Middletown have formed a dance group, the Bermuda Youth Squad. *Photo by Amanda Dale

Residents of all generations came together today in celebration of the Middletown neighbourhood.

Despite a deluge of rain, organizers said the ‘YES Day’ held in the Pembroke community was a big success.

The event featured music, dance, games and refreshments, while speakers also outlined the importance of the area and its history.

Certificates of recognition were also presented to three citizens who have made a difference to the local area — Alpheaus ‘Artie’ Black, Freeman ‘King’ Trott and the late Dr Earle Seaton.

The event was organized by The Bermuda Coalition, Imagine Bermuda and Middletown residents.

Judith Burgess, of The Bermuda Coalition, said “hundreds” of people attended the event, which ran from 1-6pm.

The ‘block party’ was held at Parsons Road playground and also featured train rides, Gombeys, health screening, a coconut shy, children’s books, six-a-side football, skateboarding and basketball games.

“The community, particularly the residents of Fenton Drive and Rambling Lane, have embraced this event today,” said Mrs Burgess.

 “These kids have been here since this morning. They’ve been soaked three or four times by the rain, but they’re still here.

“It’s a good turnout and the people who’ve come here have stayed all day, and so I think that says a lot about the community.”

A passer-by also donated up to 50 rain ponchos and children’s blow bubbles to the event.

Mrs Burgess said: “His name was Mr Lightbourne and he just came by, saying he had seen the event publicized in the press and wanted to offer something, as he used to live in the area.

“The Governor and his wife (George and Margaret Fergusson) also came out to see us — they are Pembroke residents.”

Although the Governor’s visit was unannounced, Mr Fergusson presented the certificates of recognition to Mr Trott and Artie Black’s son, Lyndon.

Mr Trott, a musician, performed a couple of songs about Bermuda.

He said: “I’ve been in the ‘business’ for about 65 years or more, singing and dancing and drumming.

“Now I am older, I play the guitar and sing.

“This is a beautiful event today and it was great to be recognized like this.”

Mr Trott lives on Fenton Drive and said his neighbours all look out for him.

“This is a great neighbourhood and all the young men have great respect for me,” he said.

“I love them — they call me ‘Uncle’ — and we have a lot of fun together.

“Some of these young men don’t have a father here so I show all that to them. I hug them up and sing to them, just to show them love. That’s what they need.

“We have some good people here; I’m very fond of my neighbourhood and I enjoy it.”

Mr Black is celebrating his 60th year of business in the neighbourhood this year, with Blacks Trade Plaza.

He started out as a blacksmith and now also runs a carpentry business and an auto garage. He could not attend the YES Day due to illness.

Lyndon Black said: “My father will be elated by this award. He has lived in this community his entire life and has invested in it. His heart is in the community very much, especially when it comes to the advancement of the trades.”

The late Dr Seaton won a scholarship to Harvard University for his tennis skills. He went on to become a barrister, a United Nations legal consul for Tanzania, and then in 1972, was Bermuda’s first black judge.

He was also Chief Justice of the Seychelles and an appellate judge in Kampala, Uganda.

Glenn Fubler, of Imagine Bermuda, said: “As we are celebrating the neighbourhood of Middletown, these are examples of individuals who are examples for the upcoming generation.”

Fellow organizer Diane Gordon said: “We wanted to reach out to the people in the community and introduce ourselves.

“We’ve all got something positive to offer and are working to help these communities.

“But before we can do that, we’ve got to build up trust and relationships, and so that’s what this day was all about.”

Mrs Gordon is the disaster risk reduction manager for the Bermuda Red Cross, and is providing training for the community in reducing risk.

Among the speakers at YES Day were Philip Butterfield (former HSBC Bank Bermuda CEO) and Gary Phillips (former teacher, Postmaster General, Director of Tourism and acting Cabinet Secretary), who grew up in the area.

Mrs Gordon said: “These guys were brought up in this community and came back today to tell stories about their childhood here.

“They came to give their support to their old community, by recalling their past and telling their stories of success.”

Conservationist and naturalist David Wingate also gave a talk about the area and its relevance to the environment.

Among the residents attending YES Day was Adednego Trott, of Fenton Drive.

Mr Trott brought his 21-month-old son Jahkeri and girlfriend Georgina Liburd to the event.

“It’s a good turnout,” he said. “Everyone is still here despite the rain, to continue their support.

“I’d like to see more events like this, maybe even four times a year, to get everyone together.”