GG’s wish to be buried in a breadfruit tree coffin will be fulfilled
Clous Cadogan (left) and his father, Oscar Cadogan (right) with the coffin made from 15-year-old cured breadfruit wood
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January 28, 2020

GG’s wish to be buried in a breadfruit tree coffin will be fulfilled

Former Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne will be laid to rest in a coffin built from the wood of a breadfruit tree, in keeping with his wishes.

The coffin, made from 15-year-old cured breadfruit wood, was built by Sir Frederick’s long-time friend, carpenter Oscar Cadogan and the tradesman’s son, Clous Cadogan.

The senior Cadougan told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that he met Sir Frederick during his early years when he (Oscar) was learning his trade with his former employer, George Bennet. The former GG was Bennet’s doctor and later, became Oscar’s physician as well.

Cadougan said about a month ago, Sir Frederick came to him and made the request to have his coffin built from breadfruit wood.

The builder said last week, he was told that Sir Frederick was not doing so well and decided to start the coffin on Wednesday January 22. Sir Frederick died the following day,Thursday January 23.
The wood is “very cured”, Cadougan told Searchlight.

“I decided to let the nature of the wood come out and don’t hide it in any color, so what you are seeing is the natural color,” he explained.

The coffin’s interior will be designed by Everready Funeral Home.

“I am very proud about doing this. I don’t really do coffins regularly, but I am proud because I knew him for years and he has done a great deal for me, and I am glad to do it,” said the Sion Hill man whose workshop is located at Rose Place.

He shared that Sir Frederick played an important part in his life as he helped him obtain a loan to buy equipment to start his business.

“After my boss died, I went on my own and started a shop as I tried to improve myself; Sir Frederick assisted me with getting the machines, so I started this shop in Rose Place where I was born.

“I continued from there, got the machines, and paid the loan and he use to make sure I get jobs. He placed a great interest in my trade just like a father,” the carpenter with 50 years of experience told SEARCHLIGHT.

“He was a very nice man within his heart, and he is a family man and very kind especially when it comes to the poor.

“I built his mother’s coffin also. He never gave up on me even when sometimes I stayed long to produce his work.

“I would like to thank everybody for giving me this opportunity. He is gone, I miss him, and he will always be in my heart,” said an emotional Cadougan.

Sir Frederick, GCMG, MD, will be accorded a state funeral on Wednesday, January 29.

The body will lie in state at the House of Assembly from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m for official viewing. Officials will be invited to the viewing from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the general public from 11 a.m. to noon.

The funeral service is scheduled to take place at the Kingstown Methodist Church.  At the church, viewing will be from 1 p.m., followed by the service at 2 p.m.  The body will be interred at the Kingstown cemetery.

As a mark of respect, all flags throughout the state are being flown at half-mast.