Thu, Dec

THERE was a shortage of old-time footballers around to say a final farewell to the outstanding Trinidad and Tobago left winger Rex Burnett, who was cremated at the St James Crematorium, Long Circular Road, yesterday.

But Burnett, who died at his Petit Valley residence last Friday, was remembered by his Notre Dame teammates as a dashing and highly efficient player...who rushed straight to his home after matches.

"He never forgot his family. When the boys moved into Cosmos Club and other drinking spots after a game, Rex went straight home. He was a perfect gentleman and dedicated family man," said Syl Dopson, following the funeral service at the St Crispin's EC Church, Woodbrook, yesterday morning.

Dopson is among the few survivors of the 1953 T&T team which toured England and recalled that Rex, as usual, gave 100 per cent on tour.

"He was a worthy successor to 'The German', Thor Schjolseth, who played in that position for Trinidad. I'll say that Rex was definitely the best left winger of his generation," said Dopson, who also played alongside Burnett for Notre Dame.

A similar view is held by Eustace Ward, a retired Guardian sports editor and sports columnist.

Apart from being a regular on the national squad for years, Burnett was a St Mary's College old boy who played cricket and football for the "Saints".

He was a star player on the Notre Dame team for near two decades, leading the club to victory in the First Division League Shield and the Gooden Chisholm Cup, contested between the champion teams of North and South Trinidad.

Among the crowd at yesterday's funeral were Noel Pouchet, Ronald "Midge" Nieves, Syl Dopson, Colin Agostini, Knolly Hezekiah, Louis Williams, Michael Blanc, AE "Sonny" Murray, his son Colin, and Rosemary Stone.

Notable absentees, who played in Burnett's time but were unable to attend, were Andy Ganteaume, Delbert Charleau, Joey Gonsalves, Denzil Mapp, the Joseph brothers, Allan Joseph, and Shay Seymour.

His younger brother was Harold Burnett, a former QRC footballer-cricketer and later secretary of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control, who died two decades ago.

Rex Burnett is survived by his wife Ida and two daughters, Dawn Fifi and Debra Burnett, his brothers Clyde and Errol, and sisters Barbara Murray, Joyce Burnett and Grace Baez.