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Friday, February 25, 2005 - The Folk Research Centre has organized a ceremony for the “Remembrance of our cultural heroes”, as part of its activities to mark St. Lucia’s 26th anniversary of Independence. This will take place on Saturday February 26th. Two cultural heroes will be honored this year, the late Harold Simmons and Dame Sesenne Descartes. The FRC plans to celebrate the life and work of St. Lucia’s foremost cultural icons, both those who are still alive and those who have passed on.

The Remembrance event begins at 3 pm at the Choc Cemetery where a memorial service will be held for the late Harold Simmons who died in May 1966. Msgr. Patrick Anthony, the founder of the Folk Research Centre will lead the programme. The ceremony will continue at 4 pm at the FRC headquarters where Kennedy ‘Boots’ Samuel will speak on the life and work of Dame Sesenne Descartes and Dr. Didacus Jules will speak on the life and work of the late Harold Simmons. Cultural entertainment will form part of the remembrance.

Harold Simmons is regarded by many as the father of St. Lucian arts and culture. He was a tutor of both the Honorable Derek Walcott and the Honorable Dunstan St. Omer. Simmons was an artist, archaeologist, historian, botanist and a journalist who served as editor of the Voice newspaper. The Folk Research Centre, in association with the Castries City Council, plans to erect a marker in the cemetery to identify the resting place of Harold Simmons.

Dame Marie Selipha Sesenne Descartes (born March 1914) is popular in St. Lucia as Queen of Folk Culture. She received the St. Lucia Medal of Merit, and was knighted by the Queen in 2000. She is resident at Mon Repos.

This remembrance of our cultural heroes, both living and deceased, has been in the planning by the FRC for a number of years.

For those who have died, the FRC will be identifying their graves, and plans to place appropriate markers on the final resting places of those who have contributed significantly to the cultural development of St. Lucia. The FRC is making this year’s event the first of what is being planned as an annual Independence activity.

Cultural activists and interested members of the public are invited to join the FRC in this Remembrance of our cultural heroes.


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