In this, the last issue of the Bermuda Sun, I would like to thank all our readers, all my colleagues and all the people who have generated so many exciting stories over the years.
Here are some of the highlights of my time in Bermuda as well as of some of the more embarrassing moments! Thanks for the memories.
It truly is the end of an era and I’d like to take the opportunity toreflect on my six years at the Sun and thank, from the bottom of my heart, the people of Bermuda who have shared so many fascinating stories with me.
My job heading up the lifestyle and arts section of the paper has allowed me to meet all sorts of amazing people from Bermuda and the world over and it has afforded me the opportunity to go on so many adventures.
The people I have met over the years have made this journey so unforgettable from the talented staff I work with here to the hundreds of interviewees.
One of the most impressive men I have ever had the pleasure to work with was Raymond Ming.
The former Head Doorman, Bell Captain and Director of All Ground Transportation at the Rosewood Tucker’s Point Hotel is the embodiment of that old Bermuda charm.
As he wrapped up his career, he told me his life story and it was spellbinding — from his days managing Ted Ming and The Bermuda Strollers —
successors to the legendary the Talbot Brothers — to the 50 plus marathons he’s run and the Queen’s Certificate he earned for his years in hospitality.
But this story stood on the strength of Ray’s honesty — as he often reminds me, “It’s because I said it like it is — I said what other people had felt but couldn’t say”.
It was through the pages of the Bermuda Sun that he revealed his deepest secret — the nervous breakdown he had after the death of his sister. He hopes his story will help others open up.
Ray sees no barriers between people — his heart is open to everyone and he’ll always have a place in mine. He spoke solemnly about the violence among our youths and sent a message to Bermuda, “don’t give up on them”.
Inspirational people are what have driven me the most in this job.
Former gang member and drug dealer Coby Williams springs to mind. He came to the island for the screening of the Bermuda Docs film The Interrupters, in which he was featured intercepting gang violence in the States. It was amazing to see how these young boys listened so intently to Coby because he spoke their language, he’d been where they were and had got himself out of it. He believed Bermuda could benefit from this kind of approach.
The most touching story I ever covered was one of the most recent — the day Charmaigne Laws met her late daughter Yawana’s heart donor recipient. I’ve never been so moved by a story as when I saw Charmaigne jump over the arrivals gates at LF Wade Airport in April to embrace Jose Famania, who received her daughter’s heart 12 years ago after she died in a tragic road accident. Charmaigne looked into
Jose’s eyes as if she was looking into her own daughter’s and then she pressed her ear to his chest to hear a little part of Yawana living on. She hopes the story will inspire others to donate organs and educate themselves about tissue and organ donation. “It’s the gift that keeps on
living,” she said.
Bermuda has so many quirks, it hasn’t been too hard finding fun stories over the years.
It wasn’t long after I arrived on the island in June, 2008 that I realized there was one story that I had to write — the history of the Non Mariners Race. This nonsensical mess of a boat race is right up my alley with its cockroach mascot, the penguin flyover, the cross dressing band
members and, of course, the epic boat race itself. The Non Mariners Race is one of the only times a year that politics and politicians get a good satirical jab to the ribs.
It was a pleasure to see another group picking up the mantle of satire as Bermuda is so ripe for it — the young team at Bermemes. Driven by boyish humour and all things Bermewjan, they are part of the reason I can almost pull off a Bermudian accent (most of my Bermudian friends would say it’s actually way off). There’s so much young talent on such a small island — it’s thriving creatively.
I know Chewstick gets a bad rap sometimes when major events don’t go fully to plan. It’s true, not everything has gone to plan, but people are easy to forget the good they do in the community. Their doors are open everyone.
One of the most amusing stories I did was when the Mayor of Hamilton, Graeme Outerbridge, got into hot water with the island’s arts community. I received complaints after he’d said most Bermuda art had “very little pure expression or talent…most of it sniffing for a sale”. When the all-female group of artists fought back, he jibed: “Looks like a little coven is getting together… Now, broom riding…. There’s a lost art.”
So, the girls decided to dress up as witches and made shirts with the Mayor’s comments emblazoned on them — it certainly helped that it was Hallowe’en!
There were times I wished Bermuda wasn’t quite so small — fairly fresh to the island, I was sent to cover UB40 at the Bermuda Music Festival and afterwards sat down to write the review. I mentioned somewhere “lead singer Ali Campbell’s unmistakable voice”.
It turns out it was his brother Duncan Campbell — thorough research is crucial for avoiding embarrassment.
Another aspect I have enjoyed is the environmental stories from the lionfish invasion to the proposed marine reserve — all these stories have helped me to get involved in the community and spread awareness.
I often wondered what you, the readers, enjoyed the most. Well, if web figures are anything to go by, you really went for the Harlem Shake story — the simple video and report attracted massive web traffic. The highest hitter in the website’s history was my review of the Pentatonix gig at Fairmont Southampton as part of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts — though I can’t take too much credit — the Festival was lucky to book them just before they skyrocketed to international fame. One of the singers posted the review to his Twitter account and then boom!
I hope my story at the Sun can inspire others into the world of journalism — journalism helps to communicate the soul of a community.
It may not pay the best wages but you will be filled with a lifetime of amazing stories that nourish and enrich you as a person.
I want to thank all the people of Bermuda and visitors who have helped me through my journey and invigorated the Life and Scene sections as well as bringing many unforgettable news stories my way.
You can still follow me on Twitter @sarahlaganlife