Vincy footballer laid to rest in High Wycombe
August 19, 2014

Vincy footballer laid to rest in High Wycombe

by Dexter Rose Tue, Aug 19, 2014

There was nary a dry eye as the High Wycombe community, just outside London, England, laid to rest one of its younger and more promising sons on the morning of Saturday, August 16.{{more}}

There was standing room only, as sympathizers overflowed the Marlow All Saints Church. Students from the three schools whose lives this 14-year-old Vincentian Central Leeward descendant had impacted, wept openly, even as they applauded the emotional and sometimes humorous tributes from the Rev Mieke Gaynor, grandfather Freddy Findlay, father Jason Marshall, mom Simone Francis, stepfather Lewis Cook and school buddies of Kyrece Jahmal Francis, given against a backdrop of the smiling image of this would-be professional football player projected above the altar.

The vibrant and charismatic Kyrece – nicknamed Kaiser by his friends – had his footballing dreams stilled in the raging currents of the River Thames, after he allegedly tried to retrieve a ball which had been kicked there during practice. This was July 22.

His lifeless body was found by police some four hours later, but this tragedy brought attention to the need for security measures along the banks of this iconic British landmark. And, during the church service, it was announced that a foundation bearing the name Kyrece Francis had been set up, which had already raised 10,000 pounds sterling to provide life-saving equipment along the banks of the Thames, testimony to the manner in which this tragic death touched the hearts of Britons of all walks of life! Anyone’s son could have been the victim of the treacherous Thames’ waters that fateful day.

His body was interred in a private ceremony at a cemetery in High Wycombe, this hilly and green community, which has been a haven for Vincentians since the massive migration of Caribbean people to the United Kingdom began in the 1950s. The repast was held at a locale which Kyrece Jahmal had known so well – the Marlow Football Club, close to the very spot he took his last breath – attended by his former teammates in their football uniforms, and schoolmates, many dressed, as were his mother Simone Francis and the closest relatives, in blue, the colour of his favourite team Chelsea. All this coincidentally on the day the English league was kicking off a new season.