February 2017 Volume 14

Spencer Family Donates Gymnasium at Melbourne Park

Dr. Glen Laman
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One of KC’s perennial benefactors, Noel Spencer, has announced that the Spencer Family will be contributing the funds for a new gymnasium to accompany the new running track at Melbourne Park.

The new facility will be known as the Spencer Family Gymnasium at Melbourne Park, Kingston College. The family will also be funding classrooms atop the gymnasium including an art room in honor of their relative, the famous artist, Kenneth Abendana Spencer.

Ken Spencer had talent as a painter of scenes of Jamaican life which, as a boy, he would sell for pocket-money in Kingston. In the 1950s he traveled to the UK but did not take the opportunity to attend Art School. Instead, he continued to sell his works, eventually buying a car, which became both his gallery and means of transport. He became a habitué and favorite of the basement clubs and jazz bars of Soho.

On returning to Jamaica in 1986, he built a large house in Fisherman's Park, Long Bay, Portland. Six stories high with circular staircases and a vast studio, it was half castle and half temple, surrounded by a high wall.  It remains a tourist attraction. From there he continued to paint figurative canvasses - seascapes, landscapes, vignettes of Jamaican life and, from the 1970s, individual character sketches. He died on 28 December 2005, aged 76.

An initial deposit of US$20,000 has already been made in 2017, with more donations to follow which will bring the total donation to over US$65,000.
Noel explained that his wife, brother, father, sister, and other family members understand the benefits that will emanate to the users of the gymnasium, hence the donation.

Noel says he is motivated by the reading from St. Luke 12:48:

 For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

According to Noel, “Douglas Forrest, Bishop Gibson, Mr. Wally Johnson and Mr. Myrie have given me much. Each has provided me with an opportunity to be the best I can be. I feel therefore sense of responsibility to glorify God and benefit others. May each user of the facilities use it to their best abilities.”

Noel is a founding board member, President and Life Director of KCOBA USA. He is also president of Spencer’s Financial Group which provides services in financial planning for retirement, Life and Disability insurance, mutual funds, and tax preparation and representation in New York, USA.

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