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Whitfield Frederick “Chummy” Hayward, MBE, OBE, JP

January 22, 1912-June 27, 1997
Sportsman, philanthropist, businessman

Although he was a successful businessman and an accomplished athlete in his own right, Whitfield Frederick Hayward—universally known by his boyhood nickname of “Chummy”—is best remembered as one of the founding fathers of Bermuda’s Olympic movement and a philanthropist who supported a wide range of sporting and community causes.

In 1934, at age 22, Hayward, along with fellow swimmers John King and Jim Murray, started the move for Bermuda to enter the Olympic Games for the first time.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted approval of the formation of the Bermuda Olympic Committee (now the Bermuda Olympic Association) on February 13, 1936, with leading businessman Sir Howard Trott as its first president.

Bermuda was invited take part in the 11th Olympiad in Berlin, Germany that year when a team of six swimmers—Percy Belvin, John Young, Edmund Cooper, Forster Cooper, Leonard Spence and Dudley Spurling—made history by becoming the first Bermudians to take part in the Olympics.

With Sir Howard’s financial help, Hayward arranged for American coach William Brooks to come to Bermuda to train the team and persuaded Spence, a breaststroke world record holder from British Guiana, to live in Bermuda for the required residency period in order that he could compete.

Ceremony

Hayward travelled to Berlin with the team as manager and carried the Bermuda flag at the opening ceremony—a tradition he would continue to uphold at every Olympic Games until 1968, missing only the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.  He acted as a swimming timekeeper at the London Games in 1948 and was the head of timekeeping for swimming at the 1952 Games in Helsinki.

He remained committed to the Olympic movement throughout his life. He served as president of the BOA from 1960-1972 and wore a gold ring engraved with the Olympic emblem from 1936 until his death. His office at J. S. Vallis and Co. on Woodlands Road, Pembroke, was a virtual sporting museum, full of Olympic and sporting memorabilia from around the world, along with numerous awards, letters and tributes. Such was his reputation that Jesse Owens, the legendary American athlete whom Hayward had befriended at the Berlin Games, was the guest speaker at a BOA testimonial dinner held in his honour in 1973.

During a four-year tenure as treasurer of the Pan American Sports Organisation, he lobbied successfully for Bermuda to be allowed to enter the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games. In 1973, Hayward was one of three people to receive the Prix de la Reconnaissance Olympique from the IOC for “his activity of favour in sport, of the development of sport in his country, and his contribution to the international sports movement”.

Consummate

A consummate networker, Hayward earned a reputation as a skilled and persuasive administrator and did much to foster international sporting exchanges, which he regarded as essential if Bermudian teams and athletes were to improve and compete at an international level.  He organised and often personally underwrote numerous tours in and outside of Bermuda for cricket, football, swimming and boxing teams, as well as fairground-style events, often to raise money for local charities.

At age19, he organised the first overseas tour to Canada by the Bermuda Wanderers cricket team, an all-star team of the island’s best players, and funded it through a public campaign that listed all the donations daily on the front page of The Royal Gazette. The Wanderers continued to tour until 1984, and in 1985 an over-40s Wanderers team organised by Hayward won the gold medal at the first-ever World Masters Games in Toronto.

Other sporting ventures ranged from his annual Easter Aqua Reviews at the Eagle’s Nest Hotel that attracted many of the world’s top swimmers, his hosting of the first visit to Bermuda by a water polo team, to boxing events which he persuaded the likes of former world champions Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Emile Griffith and Jersey Joe Walcott to attend.

Hayward was a longtime friend of Gilbert “Gil” Clancy, the legendary boxing trainer and commentator, and financially helped support Clancy’s stable of fighters, including Griffith, a world welterweight and middleweight champion.  In 1979, Hayward was appointed chairman of the finance commission of the American Confederation of Boxing.

Legendary

Hayward’s generosity was legendary and bridged the racial divide. He was supportive of athletes regardless of their race and would frequently dig into his own pockets to help individual athletes travel. In 1978 he provided last minute funding that enabled Bermuda’s women’s softball team to go to the CAC Games in Colombia where they won the gold medal. In 1976, he set up a $50,000 trust fund to provide ongoing income for the Bermuda Olympic Association.

Hayward was a talented athlete in his own right. A keen swimmer, diver and water polo player, he played football and cricket for BAA (Bermuda Athletic Association), which he joined at the age of 10 and later became its honorary life president. He was also a lifelong member of the New York Athletic Club.

Bermuda cricket historian and journalist Tommy Aitchison rated Hayward and his older brother Jack as among the Island’s finest players of their era. A sound wicketkeeper like his father Benjamin, Chummy was a skilled batsman with “a repertoire of fluent and powerful strokes”. 

He was a founding member of the Bermuda Cricket Board of Control in 1938 and in 1966 was elected to the exclusive MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) at Lord’s, the ‘home’ of world cricket.

Community

Hayward’s philanthropy extended to numerous community projects. He introduced Lionism to Bermuda and was a founding member of Hamilton Lions Club, the Island’s first Lions Club, in 1946.

In 1980, he was the first Bermudian to be made a Melvin Jones Fellow, the Lions’ highest international honour, in recognition of his community work, and was also first recipient of the Joseph Ferreira Achievement Award by Paget Lions Club. Ferreira, a highly respected sports administrator and FIFA (football) referee who died in 1996, had frequently been Hayward’s right-hand man in organising many of his sports tours.

Hayward’s generosity was funded by a successful business career. A self-made man, he literally rose from the bottom to the top to become managing director of wholesale agency J. S. Vallis & Co. (now Butterfield & Vallis) and a partner of its holding company Vallis & Hayward Ltd.  He was instrumental in buying land on Bermudiana Road, Hamilton where the Vallis & Hayward Building and the International Building—also home to the Bermuda Olympic Association—now stand. He was also a director of several major companies, including the Bank of Bermuda, Bermuda Fire & Marine Insurance and Palms Ltd., which ran the popular Forty Thieves nightclub.

Finances

Hayward was born in 1912, the seventh child in a family of six boys and six sisters— another brother died at one-day-old—born to Benjamin John Alfred Hayward (1862-1926) and Calista Theresa “Callie” Lawrence (1878-1955). Benjamin was a carpenter and architect who owned a lumberyard and had designed and built the wooden part of the original Hamilton Princess Hotel. He had three other children by his first wife Sarah Emma Voisey (d. 1892), but tragically all died before their first birthday from tuberculosis.

Hayward earned the nickname “Chummy” as a three-year-old always playing with his older brothers, who referred to him as a “chummy little fella”. His siblings were: Myrtle Louise (1897-1975), Benjamin Harley (1898-1943), Frank Leroy (1901-1974), Jack Alfred (1904- 1967), Edward (died in infancy, 1906), Harold (1907-1970), Margaret (1908-2008), May Irene (1910-2007), William “Will” Richmond (1913-2007), Eunice Louise (1915-1990), Barbara Elizabeth (1918-1989) and Betty Somers (1920- 2010).

With such a large family, finances were tight and when his father died, Chummy was forced to leave Saltus Grammar School at age 14 to find work to help support the family. They lived in Pembroke Villa, a house designed and built by his father, on Langton Hill, and where Hayward was born.

The enterprising young Hayward collected, washed and dried discarded empty rum bottles he found in hedges and fields and returned them to Gosling’s for cash. Reluctant to work in his father’s sawmill, he went to work for Joseph Vallis, a cousin of his father’s, and started off sweeping floors.

Vallis became a mentor to Hayward who rose steadily from office boy to salesman, window display decorator, and eventually managing director as the company grew from a three-man operation to one of Bermuda’s largest commission merchants.

Hayward gave many years of public service as a JP and a member of the Public Services Commission (1968-1977). He was elected to the Corporation of Hamilton as a Common Councillor in 1967 and elected as an Alderman in 1979, retiring from office in 1988.

Through friendships made at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, he acted as the Finnish Consul in Bermuda and was awarded an honorary knighthood by the Finnish president in 1982.  His contributions to sport and the community earned him an MBE in 1964, the Jubilee Medal in 1977 in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and an OBE in 1979.

Married

He was married twice, first from 1931-1936 to Virginia Bird, a member of the DuPont family of the giant American chemical corporation, with whom he had a son, Robert (1933-2007).

He met his second wife, Dorothy Elizabeth Klein (b. July 4, 1917), at the weekly dances at the Hamilton Hotel. Klein, a swimming champion from Philadelphia, had come to Bermuda as a 17-year-old and worked as a waitress and cigarette girl at the Castle Harbour and Bermudiana Hotels as well as performing in water ballets in Hayward’s Aqua Reviews.

They married on February 20, 1941 and remained a devoted couple until Chummy’s death in 1997. Dorothy—affectionately known as “Dottie”—shared his love of the Olympics and acted as a chaperone at the 1948 and 1952 Games.

The couple had three children—David (b. May 2, 1941), who worked for more than 30 years at Vallis & Co.; Kenneth (b. January 3, 1945), an airline mechanic; and Pamela (b. November 22, 1946), a hairdresser and receptionist, and wife of former policeman Rex Osborne, one of Bermuda’s few FIFA-qualified referees. Chummy was also survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Despite Hayward’s many achievements, his long-held ambition to build a Sports Hall of Fame to honour Bermuda’s athletes remained unfulfilled. In 1978, ground was broken on land next to the Royal Palms Hotel on Rosemont Avenue, Pembroke but the project was abandoned because of complaints by residents.

When the Bermuda Government eventually established a Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, it was fitting that W.F. “Chummy” Hayward was among its first inductees.


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January 27, 1912—Born in Pembroke, the ninth of 13 children born to Benjamin and Calista Hayward

1926—Leaves Saltus Grammar School at 14. Starts out by sweeping the floors at commission agency J. S. Vallis, where he worked until retirement, rising to managing director

1931—Marries Virginia Bird of Delaware. They have a son, Robert, but divorce in 1936

1931—Organises first Bermuda Wanderers cricket tour to Canada

1934—Forms Bermuda Olympic Committee (BOC) with John King and Jim Murray.

1936—Carries the Bermuda flag as team manager in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Berlin. He carried the flag at subsequent Olympics in 1948, 1952, 1960, 1964 and 1968

1938—Founding member of Bermuda Cricket Board of Control

February 20, 1941—Marries Dorothy Elizabeth Klein of Philadelphia, with whom he has three children (David, Kenneth and Pamela).

1946—Founder member of Hamilton Lions Club, the first Lions Club in Bermuda

1960-1972
—Served as President, Bermuda Olympic Association

1964—Awarded MBE for services to sport and the community

1966—Elected to Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)

1973—Receives Prix de la Reconnaissance Olympique from the International Olympic Committee

1973—Honoured by the Bermuda Olympic Association at a Testimonial Dinner at Castle Harbour Hotel. Olympic legend Jesse Owens is guest speaker

1976—Sets up $50,000 trust fund for the Bermuda Olympic Association

1977—Awarded Jubilee Medal for his sporting, community and public service

1979—Awarded OBE for his sporting and community contributions

1980—Receives the Melvin Jones Fellow Ruby Award, Lions Clubs International’s highest honour

1981—Recovers from open-heart surgery. He later loses a leg to diabetes.

1982—Awarded an honorary knighthood by Mauno Koivisto, President of Finland

Jun 27, 1997—Dies aged 85

2004—Inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame

 

“It was quite a dramatic trip to see Hitler face to face, close enough to see the pores in his skin. As we were getting ready to march into the stadium, it was quite a thing to walk up the steps and hear 100,000 people scream ‘Heil Hitler’. It felt as if everything was trembling. We were the first team to give the Nazi salute. I don’t regret it. I asked my attaché beforehand what I should do. He said that in Rome you should do as the Romans do. He convinced me that was the thing to do, paying respect to your host.” —describing his experience at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin (Mid-Ocean News, September 20, 1985)

“Don’t try to play too many games at one time; don’t serve on too many committees at once; don’t let sports activities interfere with your job; and don’t put on too much weight. I did all of these things but I learned my lesson." Bermuda Sun, September 28, 1968

“Sport has done so much for me that it will take me the rest of my life to the return just a part of the debt I owe.” —explaining his decision to set up $50,000 trust fund for the Bermuda Olympic Association in 1976 (The Royal Gazette, May 29, 1976)



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Photo: Collection of Dr. Kenneth E. Robinson. Courtesy of Mrs. Rosalind Robinson  

 


Further reading

Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame

Bermuda Olympic Association

BAA Hall of Fame


“Bermuda Cricket’s Greatest Benefactor”—tribute by Tommy Atchison, Mid-Ocean News, July 18, 1997

“A Man For All Seasons”—tribute by former Bermuda swimming coach Bob Aaron, The Royal Gazette, July 4, 1998.

“A Day In The Life”—Mid-Ocean News, September 20, 1985

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