Richard Goddard tribute by William Burton
I first met Richard Goddard through my parents. But it was not until the early 1980’s that I joined his Sunday morning walks which started at Union Hall where he lived at the time. Soon groups from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme joined as part of their qualification. This group grew into the National Trust Hikes, now the Barbados Hiking Association. There are also many other groups that are direct links to his original idea
Richard was a natural born leader who was able to get everyone to go beyond what they thought was their limit. He did this by leading from the front and encouragement.
I have so many good memories of his hikes. One that stands out is a walk that he started from the Airport to Paradise along the route of the proposed ABC highway. This was when it was just a track with marl and loose rocks. He said that we would walk it and he had arranged for a bus to take us back. So off we went. When we got to Paradise he casually said that he got the dates wrong and he had arranged for the bus next week but no problem we would walk back. Which we did.
We continued walking together for many years with the National Trust and in other smaller groups. We soon learned that you never got too far ahead of him as he would suddenly take a turn and you would have to backtrack to catch up.
He started on time. At 6am he would start walking and it was up to everyone to follow him. If you arrived at 6.02 everyone would have left. If you were lucky you could see his group in the distance and then run to catch up because he would not wait.
As the years passed and he was no longer able to hike I would visit his home at Bleak House. We would always find things to discuss on the history and places and people of the island. He was always interested in the National Trust walks and asked about the older members who started with him so many years ago.
His interests spanned many different topics. We spent many hours discussing the trails and tracks that we both knew so well. He was a successful pig and chicken farmer.
When I returned from an overseas trip I would bring the pictures to show him. Sometimes I would print off an interesting article for him to read. The last one was a few weeks before he died on the reopening of Joes River Bridge.
I thank him for starting and encouraging me to develop my backpacking skills. Through him I have met many interesting people.
Richard was a proud Bajan. A national hero and treasure. He was a walking encyclopaedia of all things Bajan. He would freely offer advice and encouragement but was not afraid to speak his mind no matter whose toes he stepped on. Without his efforts we would have a garbage dump at Greenland today.
May you rest in peace and one day we will meet on a trail.
Richard Goddard tribute by John Knox
During the 1940’s Richard Goddard and his cousin Willie Hassel were often at Adams Castle Plantation which my Grandfather bought in 1939. They came up from “Karen Lodge” in Graeme Hall Terrace where his family loved to ride a horse called Titmus. One walked while the other rode. My uncle was sent there as an overseer to learn the ropes from Mr. Kirton the manager and my mother followed when he became manager and took over the house as a bachelor so I grew up hearing about Richard Goddard from my family and seeing him at Kensington when my mother shopped there.
I enjoyed the Rugby Pantomimes at St. Winifred’s as a teenager with Richard cast in different roles. Flip Seale, told me the Rugby Team went to Trinidad once to play and as a rookie Richard took him under his wing. “Flip, let’s go for a walk” he was told and as the older members gave each other a knowing grin Richard, “his captain” and he set out. Flip told me he went through areas of Port of Spain he never imagined could exist and saw the grimmest of characters and several hours later, returned to play the match in the afternoon. Flip said he understood why the older members were grinning and did not get caught again.
In 1988 I started Hiking with Richard’s group in February from Andrews that morning. It was always a struggle to keep up or avoid overshooting only to find Richard had made a deliberate turn. I learnt a great deal about Barbados from the experience and grew to appreciate Barbados even more from up close. Richard stopped hiking later in 1988 with his hip replacement surgery. Colin Hudson used to joke sometimes that Richard had abandoned the hikers as he preferred to be with his pigs.
When Greenland came up and he took his position in the press I called him in support and offered to help in any way I could. It was an experience. First time I ever went to court, 1995. The Scotland District Association aka Richard Goddard, sued the PM, the Minister of Health and the Attorney General. Frank King the judge walked in to take his chair the first day, stopped and remarked that there were more people than he had ever seen in Church on a Sunday. We lost the case on a technicality but won long term as to this date, not a single pound of garbage has been delivered. Unfortunately as he would remark it didn’t stop the Government spending $50 million in digging a hole.
Richard tapped every knowledge resource he knew. At Bleak House, I met Bob and Christine Speed, geologists from Northwestern University who had studied Barbados geology for years and then Hans Machel from Edmonton University. I met “Rugged” the former plantation labourer from Shorey Village who showed Richard the springs in the hills around the dump site and who I suspect informed him the supports on Maynard’s Bridge were giving way under the weight of the trucks. Richard was always one step ahead. Richard once asked “Rugged” how he got his nickname to which came the reply “the women call me so”. Richard could “walk with kings and not lose the common touch”. He had sources of information he could tap from the lowest to the highest. It was a great learning experience.
He took on Arch Cot at a time when the Coroner had something like 500 outstanding inquiries going back to the 1980’s. He enlisted the help of Hans Machel to explain the geology behind the collapse to the inquiry and became a source of information the coroner could look to not only in that case but in others she had. It was the policeman in him. I remember a full page ad in the press at the time of Greenland in which he made the point that Barbadian politicians needed someone with special training to follow up on their actions and he had that special training from his time with the RCMP. His humour was always spot on.
Later on he supported the digitization of the records at Westbury Cemetery going back to 1878 when it opened and the Queree Papers. He was always interested in families and Barbados and had traced his back to the village in England from whence it had come. If I remember right “Cervus non Servus” was the motto on his crest, translated to “A stag not enslaved” if the internet is right.
He sure was indomitable.
I spoke with Andrea his Girl Friday the day after his passing so know he was in good hands when he passed.
To Margaret and his family, my deepest sympathy. Richard will be missed by many.
Richard Goddard tribute by Cecile Gibbs
I first met Richard Goddard in about 1986 on my first hike. We probably started from Groves, St. George. On the dot of 6.00 a.m. Richard started at a fair clip and plunged into a cane field heading north towards Andrews Factory. Straight through the cane rows, not a track, like a bulldozer! This was hiking, not a stroll up a country lane.
Richard had a famous trick of allowing those who overtook him in their exuberance, to go ahead, then suddenly you would hear from the group “Come back, we’re going left here!” He seemed to have a mental map of Barbados, his beloved country, in his head. The places he took us, and inspired countless subsequent hike leaders, were mind boggling. We would be in the full bush then come out onto a road and exclaim ‘Oh, this is where we are!’
Thank you Richard for showing me, and all your groups, the beautiful innards of Barbados. Enjoy your celestial hiking!!
Richard Goddard tribute by Hans G. Machel Professor emeritus of Geology, University of Alberta
I have known Richard Goddard since 1996. I treasure him as one of the most interesting persons whom I have ever met. And I count myself fortunate to have been his friend.
The first time I met him was in 1996 when he and his partner Margaret came to listen to a public presentation that I gave under the auspices of the Barbados Museum Society about the ‘Geology of Barbados’, which had been advertised in the local papers. After my hour-long presentation they made an effort to talk to me. Their concern was the ill-conceived Greenland landfill project, and they asked me to support their case to stop the then – Owen Arthur Government – from putting a landfill into the environmentally sensitive Scotland District. I happily joined this effort. It was the beginning of a lasting friendship.
I soon found myself staying each and every winter in the guest cottage at Bleak House, his home. We talked about countless things and he never ceased to amaze me with his nearly encyclopedic knowledge about Barbados history and its countless family interconnections. And while he could be ‘difficult’ at times when on one of this environmental quests, I have never seen him treating others with disrespect. He was the most honest person whom I have ever met, with a big heart, and a dry sense of humour that brought many a chuckle to all around. Before he was bed-ridden, he would sometimes accompany me to places of geologic interest, even show me places that only he or some friend of his knew about. One of the ‘funniest’ days we had together was our trip into ‘Suicide Cow Cave’, a place named for large conical pile of bones from the many cows that had fallen through a hole in the cave roof, never to leave this cave again.
Richard lived a long and in many ways wonderful life. He enriched us all. The World is a poorer place without him.
RIP, Dear Friend.
Richard Goddard tribute by Matthew C. Reilly, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Gender Studies, and International Studies, City College of New York
I had the pleasure of meeting Richard in the later years of his life as I began doing archaeological work in Barbados. In asking folks around the island about the history of the “poor whites” or “Redlegs”, everyone would inevitably tell me, “you have to talk to Richard Goddard”. Over the course of the next few years, Richard shared his wealth of knowledge about all things Barbados. He was incredibly sharp, usually following historical facts with anecdotes or jokes related to folk histories of the island’s famous cast of characters.
During my visits to Bleak House, Richard would share old photographs, maps, and archaeological objects he’d collected over the years. He was incredibly passionate about the history of the island he loved so dearly. He held a tremendous amount of respect for the island’s people, from the humble farmers whose names have been lost to history, to those who have their names enshrined on buildings. His years spent scouring every corner of his island home allowed him to recall with intimate detail the location of tiny caves and tombs shrouded in bush after decades of neglect.
Richard was the first person who showed me around the community where his grandfather used to live under Hackleton’s Cliff. This led to archaeological excavations, archival research, and most importantly, friendships with community members I cherish to this day. The book I would eventually write wouldn’t be the same or even possible had it not been for Richard. Riding around St. John in the passenger seat of his pickup truck, I knew I was conversing with a living legend who was at the helm of one of the island’s most successful companies. Yet, Richard was incredibly humble, loyal, and supportive of the community where he had roots. We regularly stopped outside chattel houses so Richard could ask about the health of someone’s elderly mother or inquire about the quality of the season’s cane or banana crop. He was a larger-than-life personality who knew the value of one’s roots and the importance of community.
One of my fondest memories is of an afternoon spent driving the back roads of St. John, discussing what the community used to look like. Much had changed over the decades, but much was also the same. Richard seemed to like it that way. You could sense his comfort in this place and the pride he took in knowing he was among friends and family. As we decided to make our way back to Bleak House, Richard pulled the car to the side of the road where a group of young children were walking home in their school uniforms. After giving them a smile and a nod, they all politely said “thank you, Mr. Richard” and piled into the back of the truck. We dropped them off in turn, Richard of course knowing where each lived in the various tenantry communities along the way. This was a man who had the name of his family and company on a massive building along the highway, but in those moments out in St. John, he was a man with deep love for a place and people who loved him back.
We’ve lost a living library of Barbados and a man of Barbadian legend and lore who touched so many lives that new libraries will have to be built to hold all the stories. He will be deeply missed.
Richard Goddard tribute by Shirley Carrington
Richard Goddard will be remembered for his large contribution through the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to the youth of Barbados. He taught the participants courage, endurance and thoughtfulness with his famous hikes in Barbados and the other Islands.
The Sunday hikes were varied and adventurous. There was always a sense of achievement after participating in a hike, hair-raising things like swinging across Back River on a liana or walking along a narrow cliff edge by Pico Tenerife and learning about local plants and geology.
No one could get lost because there was always a Duke of Edinburgh youngster at the back to look after stragglers and drinks were there at the finish provided by the youngsters to raise funds for the scheme.
Richard knew so many interesting things to talk about on the hike when passing through places and villages, he had a wealth of knowledge about place names and incidents that had happened there in the past.
Thanks to Richard the hikes have gone from strength to strength as more and more people realise the benefits and the camaraderie of being in the open air with friends.
May he Rest In Peace.
Richard Goddard funeral announcement
Richard Goddard funeral announcement taken from Lyndhurst Funeral Home – Barbados.
A private memorial service of thanksgiving took place on Wednesday 17th March 2021 at 9:00 a.m. (local time). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Barbados Salvation Army. Click here for the: Salvation Army – Barbados Facebook page or the Salvation Army – Caribbean website.
Richard Bruce Goddard, aged 85, of “Bleak House”, St. Andrew departed this life on 18th February 2021. Among his many contributions to National Public Service:
- Retired Director of Goddard Enterprises.
- Past Member of the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, Barbados and St. Lucia Division.
- Past Chairman and Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Barbados. Past Chairman of the Caribbean Award Sub-Regional Council. Past International Council Member of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association.
- Past Council Member of The Barbados National Trust and served as Second Vice President.
- Past Board Member of the Bush Hill Tourism Trust and heavily involved in the restoration of George Washington House. Spearheaded and played an integral part in the restoration of the historic Morgan Lewis Mill.
- Council Member of The Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS) 1975-1989 and Honorary Treasurer from early 1980s-1989. Vastly contributed to the development of the BMHS particularly during the redevelopment of the core galleries and public image.
- Under the auspices of The Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS): President of The Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA). President of The Barbados Association of Pig Farmers. Board Member of The Poultry and Egg Production Marketing Committee.
- Husband of the late Ignacia Van den Branden de Goddard.
- Father of Rene Bruce (Vanessa) Goddard (Sydney, Australia).
- Partner of Margaret Deutsch.
- Grandfather of Geoffrey (Maria), Stephen and Richard (Spike) (Jasamine) Goddard (Sydney, Australia).
- Great grandfather of Kira Jane Goddard (Sydney, Australia).
- Brother of the late Betty Atkinson and Barbara Rogers.
- Relative of the Goddard and Hassell families.
- Care giver and friend of 15 years – Sharon Andrea Andries.