Family remembers former Master of Fiennes Institute

Alton Forde (file photo)
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By Theresa Goodwin

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“A quiet man with a big heart who was committed to his work,” Wayne Forde said as he described his late brother, Alton Forde, a former civil servant who last served as Master of the Fiennes Institute.

Alton died shortly after 3am on Thursday while receiving treatment at Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC). He was 61 years old.

Wayne said that Alton, who was the eldest of their mother’s five children, was a very quiet person who had a passion for his work, his church, and the community.

“He does not really talk that much outside of his job. He was a very intelligent guy and was good at what he does,” he said.

Prior to being at the helm of Fiennes — the stated-owned home for the elderly — for several years, Alton was the general manager of the National Solid Waste Management Authority, and was also the head of Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital for a brief period.

Some years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which affected his mobility, and was domiciled in a private home where a dedicated team of nurses cared for him.

Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the nervous system, which affects the patient’s movement. The symptoms, which start gradually, are sometimes evidenced by a barely noticeable tremor in one hand.

Meanwhile, Wayne said the recent closure of the hotel industry in which he works, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, afforded him more time to spend with his brother.

“I would go to look for him, [give him his haircut] and make sure that everything is going well. I was to go and give his haircut today when I got the call from the hospital that his condition had worsened,” the younger brother said.

Originally from the village of Willikies, the career civil servant is survived by three sons and a daughter.

The grieving brother said the nation of Antigua and Barbuda had lost a brilliant mind.

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