Monday, January 25, 2021

Tribute to the late Edward Alvares by Tony Fernandes



July 14, 1944 – November 16, 2020

Edward will be most remembered by his large circle of friends who respected him and held him in high esteem. This is because of his kind and compassionate nature. He was always forthcoming in extending his assistance to people who needed it.

Soon after arriving in the UK, he established a charitable organisation called “Alive and Active” which did charitable deeds like paying the fees of deprived children, visiting the sick and lonely, giving counselling and comfort to those who were very low and distressed. When one lady in her last stages of cancer started having panic attacks, he and his wife Ivy would drive from Watford to a South London hospice and after Ivy would talk to her, she would be calm and composed, eventually dying a peaceful death.

When Edward heard of a teenage boy in Zambia whose body was covered with horrific warts, he brought the boy to England for surgery. The boy returned to Zambia after his treatment completely cured.

In another case, when Edward learned that a person, he knew in Kenya was critically ill with cancer and specialist cancer treatment was not available there, he arranged for the person to fly to Mumbai and get the required treatment - again with a happy outcome.

He and Ivy also arranged for another lad suffering from cerebral palsy to undergo treatment in Hungary.  His treatment was positive and he is now much better.

Large funds required for the above activities were collected through highly successful social functions, thanks to Edward’s organisational ability, resourcefulness and meticulous accounting. These qualities, coupled with his determination and perseverance attained the financial objective. He did not undertake these deeds for financial gain or personal glory but purely to help others.

Edward was a devout Catholic. In his own quiet and unassuming way, he practised his faith and adhered to his values, principles and beliefs. He featured so prominently in the activities of his parish that a former priest, Fr Peter Maher came down from Ireland for his funeral mass.

In the field of sports, Edward played hockey and cricket for the Sacred Heart High school and the Mombasa Institute. His main success was as Secretary of Sports in the Mombasa Institute where he wholeheartedly supported and encouraged younger players in hockey.  This resulted in four young Goan hockey players being selected to represent Kenya in the Montreal Olympics in 1976. They were the Late Reynold Pereira, Patrick Martins, Raphael Fernandes and Walter DeSouza.  They attributed part of their success to Edward. The tributes of the last three players were also read out at his funeral service.

Edward is no longer with us but he has left his family and all of us a rich legacy. One does not have to be a billionaire to provide relief to others. Edward has shown us that we can all be generous, compassionate and caring in a world where so many people are hurting.

I shall remember Edward as a good man who always gave unstintingly of himself to others in need. His labours over, may he rest in peace. 

Tony Fernandes

Mitcham, Surrey, UK

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