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Gilbert “Bertie” Ellis celebrates his 106th birthday

GeneralGilbert “Bertie” Ellis celebrates his 106th birthday

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Sept. 28, 2022

On Tuesday, September 27, former cricket star and Hall of Famer, Gilbert “Bertie” Ellis, received a special visit from the Mayor of Belize City, Bernard Wagner, in celebration of his 106th birthday on Saturday, September 24.

The Belizean sports icon was born on September 24, 1916, to Maud Ferrill and Scot Ellis and is predeceased by his wife, Daisy, with whom he had three daughters. In total, Ellis fathered 19 children, most of whom live abroad in the USA.

Ellis gained fame in the Belizean community as a batter and bowler in cricket. Ellis became the captain of the Rovers cricket team in 1938, and he played for that team for four years before going on to play for the Sussex team. During his time as an active sportsman, he also became the first president of the Amateur Boxing Association and the captain of a domino team, and was later inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame.

Even after his days as an athlete had reached an end, he remained active in sports at the management and administrative levels.

He recalled that his first job involved helping a man by the name of Mr. Franklin freeze ice cream after school, through which he earned 50 cents a week, which he referred to as “big money” at that time. In 1936, he began working for the Santiago Castillo enterprise and retired in 1981, after a period of 45 years at the company, during which he advanced from being an entry-level laborer to a chief warehouse keeper.

In 1967, Ellis was made Justice of the Peace, and he also chaired the Social Welfare Board for four years. He also served as chairman of the Rent Assessment Board.

Another of Ellis’s life achievements was serving as the first president of the Harmony Housing Association, formed with 15 members in the 1950s. Jeff O’Brien and Sir Colville Young were among the members of the association who were successful in obtaining houses and lots along West Collet Canal under the banner of the association.

In a sit-down with AMANDALA in 2010, Ellis said that he enjoyed being a sports ambassador for Belize, and he reminisced on a visit to Mexico in the 1970s with his half-brother, Hubert Bradley. At the time, he said, the two brothers were part of a sports club in that country, and he recalled with pride that when they were playing in Vera Cruz, Mexico, the then president, Luis Echeverria, invited them to extend their stay.

When he was interviewed by AMANDALA in 2010, he had highlighted the fact that he was in good health – with no hypertension, no diabetes, [and] no arthritis – a blessing for which he expressed gratitude to the Creator.

On Tuesday, the Belize City Council posted birthday wishes for Ellis on their social media page, and Mayor Wagner personally delivered a birthday package to Ellis’ home.

“We extend a big thank you to Mr. Bertie for welcoming us into his home and sharing such rich stories with us. We wish you nothing but love and happy days ahead,” said Mayor Wagner.

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