Tributes began pouring in as news of the death of former Devonshire Recreation Club president Ellsworth Christopher spread throughout the island yesterday.
The Devonshire stalwart passed away at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital early yesterday afternoon with family members by his side. He was 78.
Before serving as president, Christopher represented Devonshire in both football and cricket and also dabbled a bit in the boxing ring.
But he is perhaps best known for his fine all-round exploits on the cricket pitch as a fiery fast bowler and aggressive middle-order batsman.
Among those paying tributes were some of Christopher’s Devonshire team-mates who described him as a “team player” and a “caring” individual who served his club well — both on and off the pitch.
“He was a fast bowler and was quick and as he got older he started to spin as an off break bowler,” Gladstone “Sad” Brown, the former Devonshire opening batsman, recalled. “He was pretty good and nowadays you would call him a Twenty20 player. He could hit the ball a mile.”
Winston “Coe” Trott, the former Devonshire fast bowler, recalled sharing the new ball with his late team-mate.
“I spent maybe a season or two opening the bowling with him and he was quick,” Trott said. “We played on concrete then and there were quite a few guys around then that could let them go and he was one of them.”
Lionel Thomas, the former Devonshire all-rounder, added: “Chris was a really good team man who always gave you encouraging words.
“For us at the Rec, he was the X factor because on so many occasions when we thought all was lost, particularly from a batting point, he would hit the ball outside the park and give us a quick 30 or 40 and suddenly we are back in the game.
“By nature he was a fast bowler, but we had to more or less beg him to spin. He loved bowling fast but we had so many seamers in the team and no spinners. By then he was getting on a bit so he had cut the pace down but he could cut the ball so much, particularly from the off, so we begged him to spin.
“I know at times he wanted to bowl quickly but he was a great asset spinning the ball for us.”
After retiring from playing sports Christopher gave many more years service as an administrator who rose all the way through the ranks to president at Devonshire Rec.
“He was president for a long time,” Trott said. “When I was coaching the football team [Devonshire Cougars] he was president and that was in the 1970s and he was there for quite a while.
“He put a lot of effort into caring for the club after having played football and cricket.”
Christopher also gave many years service on the executive committees of the now defunct Somers Isles Cricket League and also at the Bermuda Cricket Board.
“Chrissy served with me on the Somers Isles Cricket League and the Bermuda Cricket Board,” Reggie Pearman, the former BCB and Somerset Cricket Club president, said. “He was very knowledgeable and I enjoyed working with him.
“He was very outspoken and always tried to get his point across.
“Chrissy and I also went to school together. He was a year ahead of me at Berkeley.
“His passing is a terrible loss and my condolences to his family.”