Pallbearers carry the casket of Joyce Kirton into the St Paul’s Anglican Church on Harris Promenade, San Fernando on Wednesday.

Innis Francis

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Pews at the St Paul’s Anglican Church in San Fernando were filled with mourners who gathered to pay final tributes to cultural icon Joyce Cynthia Kirton, a founding member of Les Enfants Dance Company. Among them was San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, San Fernando East MP Randall Mitchel and former government minister Joan Yuille-Williams.

Kirton’s niece Hyacinth Kirton-Lewis Rosamond, who delivered the eulogy, said the woman who eventually gained fame as a dance pioneer was the live wire in the family and even though she was one of ten children she was always the centre of attention, “brilliant and with a remarkable thirst for knowledge.”

Rosamond said early on Kirton developed a love for “liming” and she and her older sister Margaret used to “strut around San Fernando” until their parents put a stop to it.”

She said her aunt never married, had no children and “she loved and lost, but survived.”

While many considered Kirton to be a bold, vocal woman and wondered if she had any fears, she was afraid of feathered creatures, Rosamond revealed. However, she loved dogs, African art, sewing, Mills and Booms novels and collecting handicraft dolls.

“But her biggest love was for the Les Enfants Dance Company,” she said.

Mayor Regrello said Kirton was a dedicated San Fernandian who never asked for help for her self but instead sought after for the good of others. Also paying tribute was San Fernando East MP Randall Mitchell who recalled meeting Kirton on the campaign trail and being told that she had taught dance to his mother and her sisters.

Kirton was laid to rest at Paradise Cemetery in San Fernando.

At a memorial at the San Fernando City Corporation on Wednesday night, cultural tributes were paid by Eric Butler, Lucy Regis, Avion Crooks, Marlon De Bique, The Les Enfants Theatrical Company, Kerina Brereton-Thomas and Friends, Moriba Francis and Leslie Hoyte.