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Avis Yorke dies at 72

Avis Yorke dies at 72


Cultural enthusiast and businesswoman Avis Yorke has died.{{more}}

Yorke, of Cane Garden and the proprietor of Flick Pest Control, has been termed a “cultural icon” by the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC), on which she served for many years as the Deputy Chairperson of the Beauty Shows Committee.

Yorke, 72, died in the United States of America on Sunday.

A release from the CDC said Yorke’s national service to Mas and Beauty Pageants spans decades. She “served with great distinction and was well-known for her ability to motivate the team, the Miss SVG contestants, and the Miss Carival delegates,” the release said.

“However, we believe she is best known for her work with the Beauty Shows Committee. Mrs Yorke would scout for queen contestants and marked the rural contestants for the following year’s show. She was most valuable in seeking sponsorship for the contestants. She was a very persuasive advocate for the innovations to the show over the years and shouldered her responsibility admirably.

She promised many mothers of contestants to take care of them, and she defended them at all costs…. Lovingly known to contestants and queens in beauty pageants and her fellow Beauty Shows Committee members as ‘Aunty Avis,’ several of them recall her as “being firm, with a kind heart, always fussing to ensure perfection.”

Yorke was officially recognized and honoured by the CDC in 2008 for her contribution to the carnival pageants and Carnival art and culture.

The 2008 citation spoke of her over forty years of involvement in Carnival and the fact that she was the first female band leader to win a Band of the Year title at Mardi Gras celebrations, a feat she accomplished in 1983 with the presentation ‘Seasons.’

“In the 1960s, early 1970s era, Yorke was one of the pillars behind legendary band leader Lennox ‘Scully’ Hunte. From the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, she was a formidable force in Bad Lads and Lasses Mas Band, led by the redoubtable Eddison ‘Sheggy’ John, except for that memorable year 1983, when, following a boycott by the established Mas Bands, she branched off and won the Band of the Year title.

Her contribution to the development of the beauty shows component of Vincy Mas spans the era of Carnival Queens to Miss SVG and Miss Carival pageants. Hers has been a true labour of love and devotion to the nurturing of the beauty pageants, now a fully integral part of our premiere National Cultural Festival.

While devoting much time and energy to the Miss SVG and Miss Carival Beauty pageants, Mrs Yorke still has more than enough to spare through her involvement with Mirage Productions, a Mas Band led by Carnival icon Lennox ‘Becks’ Gonsalves. She pays particular attention to the junior masqueraders on whom the future of Vincy Mas depends.”

The CDC, in the release, extended sympathy to her mother, son Anthony and his family, daughter Sharon and her family, other family members, relatives, friends and business associates.

“We will miss her humour and her effervescent personality.”