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Berkeley makes mas no more

By Joan Rampersad Friday, June 10 2011

click on pic to zoom in
Wayne Berkeley ...
Wayne Berkeley ...

Mas designing legend Wayne Berkeley passed away at the family home on Clifford Street, Belmont, yesterday evening. He was 71.

His brother Oswald said the renowned mas maker died at 7.35pm due to complications of a third stroke which he suffered two weeks ago. Berekely survived his first stroke which occurred roughly ten years ago and left his right side of his body paralysed.

Oswald, who called Newsday minutes before 8pm yesterday, said the family is coping so far. Berkeley also leaves to mourn brothers Cletus and Eldon.

David Lopez of the National Carnival Bands’ Association (NCBA), who visited Berkeley yesterday morning, said Berkeley’s eyes were closed.

“He wasn’t aware of anything and his breathing was laboured. I knew then it was just a matter of time,” he said.

As soon as news broke of his death, condolences were already written on social network Facebook, including the band Skullduggery which is co-led by former King of Carnival Peter Samuel.

“Condolences to the family of Wayne Berkley who passed away today this afternoon. Another loss for the mas fraternity!!! May he rest in peace,” the band said on its Facebook page.

Berkeley shot into mas prominence in 1973 when together with Bobby Ammon, they designed the band “Secrets of the Sky” that copped the band of the year title.

The following year, he single-handedly won the Band of the Year title with “Kaleidoscope” and again in 1980 with “Genesis”.

Then came his unbeatable years from 1980 to 1994 with portrayals “Heromyth”, “1990”, “Swan Lake”, “Titanic”, “Strike Up De Band” and “Mirage”.

Berkeley went on to win the coveted title one more time with “Amaranth – The Secret Garden” in 1998.

It was a few years after that, when Berkeley suffered his first stroke but that didn’t stop him from assisting other bands with their mas designs. Some of those bands included Masquerade, Trevor Wallace & Associates, Rosalind Gabriel and Trini Revellers.

He also did “Swan Lake” for London Carnival, and his most recent work was the production of Carnival Messiah.

The funeral service is being tentatively arranged for Tuesday at the Assumption RC Church in Maraval.

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