Beryl Patrick Doyle

91 years - Glencoe

Beryl was born in 1921 in San Souci to Alfred and Emma Patrick- both of whom were teachers. Her father was a Headmaster [principal]. With a promotion, he moved from Port of Spain to San Souci to take up a teaching position: "and in those days you couldn't refuse that." The trip to San Souci was by no means a straightforward one, as there was as yet no paved road to Arima, let alone to Toco. A boat would have to be taken to Toco and then a five mile horse and buggy ride across many rivers to San Souci. With five children and all their belongings, the journey must have been an arduous one.

Three teachers worked in the school, "and they worked…crossed rivers to convince parents [in the area] to send their children to school five days out of the week instead of two." In that part of Trinidad, children worked the cocoa fields with their parents and only attended school Mondays and Tuesdays. Teachers like Beryl's parents were also preachers, lawyers, and priests for their community. On the fourth Sunday of every month, they would conduct the service for their Anglican parishioners. Earning much less than thirty dollars a month, they were an indispensable part of their community. It was into this community that Beryl was born.

Leaving San Souci at age four, she was taken from the country to the city. Beryl moved back with three of her siblings into ‘Town’ with her grandmother to attend school on upper St Vincent Street. Sitting in the gallery, friends would visit to churn ice cream and watch the tram go around the Savannah. They would all run off to Sunday school at the sound of the prison bell on Frederick Street. She attended Sunday school at Holy Trinity Cathedral but would often sneak away to Grey Friars Presbyterian down the street as they had a bible comic book and gave prizes for the questions they asked at the end of the year. Sometimes, in the grounds of the Governor's House, Beryl would listen to the police band play for free from five till six in the evening.

Beryl attended Bishop Anstey High School and later joined the Junior Coterie of Social Workers under the leadership of her mentor and inspiration, Mrs Audrey Jeffers; membership was one penny a month. On afternoons, the girls would visit the Home for the Blind and take the women to Victoria Square to read to them. She was also one of three people made life long members of the Coterie by Mrs Jeffers. She went on to work for the Ministry of Education and was awarded the Humming Bird Medal for her outstanding social work with the Mothers’ Union as its president as well as her service to the church and the Coterie of Social Workers. Mrs Beryl Patrick Doyle outlived her husband and continues to inspire her family members and never misses her West Indies cricket on television.