Eulogy of Velda Marguerite Aguet Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 November 2012 00:00

Velda Marguerite Fairweather Aguet was born on November 30th, 1941, the third child of Henry and Cora Fairweather. She attended Miss Annette Meheia’s Primary School before going on to St. Hilda’s College where she excelled as an athlete playing softball for her school team. While in school, she joined the Girls Readers’ Group run by Ms. Alice Gibson of the Belize Library. She served a term as vice-president and developed a penchant for serious debate. A stint in Home Economics at the Belize Technical College certified her as “pastry chef” a reputation she has maintained to the last. After high school, already an accomplished stenographer, she joined the staff of the Public Works Department where she worked for several years. In 1963, she married Bernard Oliver Aguet and settled into family life. Soon after the first child, Bernard Henry was born followed by Marcelle and Alexander.

Sometime in the late 70’s, there was a major shift in the trajectory of her life and career when she was appointed full-time Director of the Council for Voluntary Social Services. This led to a professional life of community service and intense social advocacy. The work of the Council for Voluntary Social Services penetrated every aspect of Belizean society and gave Velda insights into the working of Government and the public sector, which she took full advantage of. As an umbrella organization, the council provided tangible support for established and grass roots organizations in every town and village of Belize, affecting issues of health, education, drug prevention and rehabilitation, poverty. Her role as liaison to international agencies such as the United Nations Development Program and United Nations Children’s Education Fund expanded the effectiveness of the Council. The work of the council also took her on conferences to all comers of the world - Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean. She took full advantage of these experiences to further enhance the role of the council.

Her involvement with UNDP’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme deserves special mention. Her work in pioneering and guiding the delivery of funds to non-governmental organizations landed her an award for her dedicated service. Coordinator, Phillip Balderamos describes her record with the programs as “unmatched” and added “and we believe that it may also be unmatched in the 120 plus countries of the GEF-SGP globally”.

Her passion for service led her to a parallel career in service to the church becoming a senior Eucharistic lay minister at A11 Saints Anglican Church. Her responsibilities included preparing young people for confirmation and conducting Bible study classes (her passion) once a week. She was a pioneer, and stalwart soldier in the Cursillo Movement and a mentor to seminarians Clifford White and Mark Logue. In addition to this, she sat on numerous boards covering all aspects of the work of the church. She was indeed a pillar of the church.

The list of her titles, awards and leadership roles run the gamut: Justice of the Peace, Member of the British Empire, Chair of the YWCA nominating committee, and Chair of the Parole Board. Previous assignments include service on the Belize Association of and for Persons with Disabilities, the Belize Advisory Board, and National Women’s Commission.

Velda, Miss Velda, was many things to many people - her family, members of her church, work colleagues, even the man on the street. She was mother and grandmother, surrogate mother, counselor and confidante and a warrior for the cause. She was generous with her time and her food. Whether you simply walked in unannounced or dropped in for Sunday afternoon tea, there was always a treat. Even the security guard next door, Daniel, earned her sympathy for the long lonely hours he spent on the job. He was “adopted” and always guaranteed a plate of “real food”. We must especially remember the loving care she extended to our Aunt Erlean and Uncle Carlton in the waning years of their lives.

Let’s not forget her role as a lifelong UDP supporter. A tireless campaigner, she was never afraid to show her colours and fly the banner; to be present at every meeting, conference, parade or demonstration and to be ready for duty at any time.

Our hearts are warmed by the wonderful outpouring of affection in this room from family, colleagues and friends. We are sad that missing from this audience are two very important people in Velda’s life. First, is her third born, Alexander who could not make it in time from faraway Australia. Her niece, Tricia, could not make it. Aunt Velda had helped to fill the void in her life when she lost her mom at the tender age of 6.

And now with heavy hearts, we must bid farewell to Velda, Mummy Velda, Mama Velda, Aunt Velda, Miss Velda, Ms. Aguet. Her body has left us; her spirit remains. Let us find ways, individually and collectively, to remember her and honour her in tangible ways.

“You have fought the good fight; you have finished the course. You have kept the faith.” And the Lord will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”