Nation bids farewell to medical stalwart

Sir Reginald Alford Walwyn received an official funeral yesterday (Photo mby Carlena Knight)
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By Carlena Knight

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Family, friends, dignitaries and well-wishers flocked to the Ebenezer Methodist Church yesterday as the nation bid farewell to medical pioneer Sir Reginald Alford Walwyn at his official funeral.

Dr Walwyn was born in Bath Village, Nevis, but migrated to Antigua at a tender age with his parents, Ernest Walwyn and Rhoda Walwyn, and siblings.

He became a doctor at the age of 28.

Following the news of his passing, many including the Medical Association of Antigua and Barbuda paid tribute to the national honouree who was one of the association’s founding members in the 1950s. He also served as the body’s president for several years.

Dr Walwyn provided many years of service to local people as an ophthalmologist. His service to the medical field saw him bestowed with the Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KCN) in 2021.

He was also honoured by his alma mater, the University of the West Indies (UWI), in 2018 with the Pelican Award for his “sterling contribution to medicine and leadership and excellence in ophthalmology in the Caribbean”.

Dr Walwyn was actually among the first cohort of students at UWI and among the first class of physicians to graduate from the school.

The Pelican Award is the highest honour that can be bestowed on a graduate.

While many locals would refer to him “as the eye doctor that helped me see”, Dr Walwyn’s family knew him as a “kind, gentle, peaceful, sweet soul, who was always jovial, playful and loved to dance”.

Several of his grandchildren paid tribute to their grandpa.

“One of the best things about my grandfather was his laugh. He had one of those big infectious laughs. He lived a full, prosperous life and he will be missed by many,” said one family member.

“I just wanted to say I am going to miss him so much. Grandpa was such a kind, kind soul and hilarious guy. He would always just have a joke to bust at any given point.

“He was one of my biggest cheerleaders and he gave a lot to his grandkids and his children and the whole of Antigua,” another family member said.

Dr Walwyn also served as the Governor General’s Deputy in 1994-2000 and was a founding member and trustee of the Society of Friends of Holberton Hospital.

He passed away last month at the age of 97.

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