My young brother, Roy Garden (61), passed away late Friday night after surviving for over two years with Stage 4 Cancer. Roy was a determined guy who never gave up and tried every trick in the book in an effort to delay the inevitable progress of that dreaded affliction. He spent his last two weeks at my home in Harare where he could listen to and watch the wonderful birdlife and views that we are blessed to have.
Roy spent the majority of his life in Bulawayo being schooled at Hillside Junior and then Hamilton. With just 4 O levels to his name, Roy will not be remembered for any scholarly highlights: whilst us 3 siblings were all teachers pets in the classroom, Roy was out there smacking cricket balls all over the park. He was 9 years younger than me so I, as the big brother, spent a lot of time watching him play his various sports. He believed that no-one is born better than you at anything – if you are determined and focused, you can be the best in the world – he ended up as the effective world champion at Lawn Bowls by winning the Gold Medal for Zimbabwe at the Kuala Lumpar Commonwealth Games in 1998
Roy was very instrumental in giving me belief that I too could, if I put my mind to it, do well at sport.
His sporting prowess started early in life with colours for soccer and cricket in Standard 4 (grade 6) followed by 4 more in grade 7; Rhodesia U 15 Soccer; and, more colours at High School. He was very tall (6’4”) so he learnt how to do the Fosbury Flop winning the Interschools High Jump with a Matabeleland schools record that was unbeaten for over 20 years. In the early years he represented Matabeleland in Cricket and Basketball with National Colours for Squash, Athletics and Bowls.
Overall Roy was a feisty guy who could turn on the charm when necessary but never thought of losing as an option in the sporting arena. The cricketing fraternity were well aware of this and their constant taunts when he was batting would often result in him launching a smattering of 6s all around the park. It was sometime in his twenties, however, that he decided that Bowls was the sport for him dedicating most of his time in the pursuit of excellence. He won his first Zimbabwe Singles when he was 29 and his last (6th ?) much later just a few months before being diagnosed with Lung and liver cancer. Over the Years Roy represented Zimbabwe many times at World Bowls, World Masters and the All Africa Games
His funeral will be held this coming Wednesday 25th January at 2.30pm at Highlands Presbyterian Church. Friends, family and sporting colleagues are all invited to join us for the service with memorial drinks shortly afterwards at Highlands Sports club. He leaves behind his ever-loving life time partner, Les Peinke. Just before he died I sang him my favourite for the occasion Seasons in the Sun – I urge his friends to listen to it now. MHDSRIP.
There will be a memorial service for Roy at the MacDonalds Club in Bulawayo this Friday 27th January at 2.30 pm. Condolence messages can be sent to Les on 0773-111101. ͏ ͏ ͏
Goodbye to you, my trusted friend But we’ve known each other since we were nine or ten Together, we’ve climbed hills and trees Learned of love and ABC’s
Skinned our hearts and skinned our kneesGoodbye, my friend, it’s hard to die When all the birds are singing in the sky Now that spring is in the air Pretty girls are everywhere Think of me and I’ll be there