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Lorrimer (Lorry) Burford leads The United Friends of Highgate (UFOH) as the President and Chairman of the Board. An entrepreneur, author and son of Highgate, he has helped to improve the lives of many needy children as well as poor and neglected individuals. Under his tenure the organization has gone from early stage startup to a sustainable organization and is now the leading Community Development organization in Highgate. Reverend Seymour Hutchinson, Chairman for UFOH chapter in Highgate, Lorry and many members of both chapters have been recognized across multiple media and news outlets including The Observer, Daily Gleaner, Caribbean Today, Caribbean National Weekly for their contribution to the Highgate community and as leaders in cutting edge non-profit management.
Lorry’s service is one hundred percent voluntary, bringing over 25 years of leadership experience across both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. As a professional writer, he served as the Grant Coordinator for the Department of Community Development for the City of Miami. “It’s an honored to lead such a unique, dynamic and growing organization,” said Lorry. “You don’t have to be an expert in any field to feel the power of what we do. I have watched our community move from a clean lovable small town of less than three thousand residents, to a crammed uncared-for town with nearly ten thousand residents and no significant improvement in infrastructure, social amenities, education or community development.
“The Highgate Community has capable leaders starting with our Member of Parliament, Church leaders, Mayor, Municipal Corporation Councilor, Education leaders, Custos, leaders of the Social Development Commission, Business leaders and others within the community”. Lorry said, “Most of these personnel are already members of UFOH who are expected to form a team of planners for the community. It is this leadership along with the members of UFOH who I think will play a significant role in the development of the Highgate Community. I believe that as we build the community to help individuals experiencing poor health care, educational challenges and lack of employment opportunities, we will substantially lessen homelessness and criminal activities in Highgate and we will also act as a nucleus around which other communities will coalesce, making Jamaica a safer and better place to work live and play”.
Lorry attended the Highgate Continuation High School, Excelsior High School and the University of the West Indies. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree (hon). He was admitted to membership in the prestigious Sigma Beta Delta, the International Honor Society in Business, Management and Administration.
Marjorie (Madge) Patterson is a founding member of the United Friends of Highgate. From the start, she recognized and accepted the importance of helping in the development of her childhood town. She did not think twice to accept the position of secretary and later director of UFOH. She utilized her experienced in the business design and development to help launch the organization.
Her even-tempered, calm demeanour hides the real dedicated business consultant who is truly Madge Patterson. Her experience and expertise range for business development and tax consulting through financial management and complex administration functions. She will tell you that her love for UHOH is heightened by the camaraderie of the members and the ability to focus not only on “building a better Highgate” but to have fun while doing so. This is UFOH’s twofold objective.
“My continued affiliation with UFOH results from residing in Highgate during my childhood and maintaining life-long friendships with fellow members and residents. I continue to be enthralled my commitment to ‘give back’ to Highgate but most importantly our remarkable efforts to assist in the development of surrounding districts”.
Madge started her education at St. Mary High School which continued through Pace University and Barry University where she gained a MBA in Management. She is an enrolled Agent with the US Treasury/IRS (licensed to practice before the IRS as an Auditor) a Master Tax Advisor and is a member of the Society of Certified Management Accountants.
Carlton (CB) Brown: Harmony Hall is a small village outside the town of Highgate in the parish of St Mary. It was and still is a community made up of mostly poor residents. Carlton grew up in that village. Although people were poor, there was no homelessness, hunger or malnutrition. They survived because there was an abundance of fresh fruits, organic vegetables and other ground provisions that were readily available. Today things are very different, homelessness and hunger is now a reality. Underemployment and the use of drugs have wreaked havoc on the youth of Highgate. Something has to be done.
“It is this reality that has resulted in the creation of the United Friends of Highgate”, Carlton explained. “I migrated to the USA but I never left Highgate. I saw the men and women of my youth grow old and die. I watched, as many who gave their lives to the welfare of Highgate grew poorer and poorer. I watched as poverty changed from poor to hunger and homelessness. The small farms abandoned by the youth, no more abundance of fruit and fresh vegetables. Something had to be done! I had to find a way to give back to Highgate.”
The opportunity came when a number of friends from Highgate met and planned a reunion party. Carlton explained, “Lorrimer Burford and I saw this as the opportune time to introduce to the group the idea of starting a charity. The party started, and over one hundred friends came from near and far. The idea was introduced, the acceptance was unanimous, and that was the birth of UFOH”.
Carlton has since worked relentlessly for the welfare of the people of his home town. As a graduate of St. Georges College Extension and a past teacher at St. Andrew Technical High School his training and humbleness has helped him become a successful sales person. Ever vigilant to recognize opportunities to help UFOH Carlton has grasped many valuable opportunities in the course of his work.
Claude Turnbull: From the start Claude was gung-ho on starting the United Friends of Highgate, (UFOH). As an experienced and accomplished accountant and auditor, Claude was happy to help determine the Organization’s structure, registered it in the State of Florida and applied for its nonprofit status with the IRS. His passion for Highgate, especially in the area of education, comes from the memorable years he spent at St. Mary High School. Claude was one of the pioneer students to enter the “halls of a fine Institution” as he puts it, when St. Mary High School was launched in 1960. He became the first head boy and graduated in the first batch of graduates.
Claude believes that education is the foundation of any community development and that if the schools in Highgate would create a union where they can appropriately corporate a school system, students and the community would benefit greatly and the development and growth of Highgate would be assured.
Prior to launching the United Friends of Highgate, Claude who as a member of The Association of Certified Accountants worked as a financial accountant and auditor both in Jamaica and New York. He currently owns an accounting firm and functions as a Tax Preparer and Business Accounting Provider. He is also an active Realtor in the State of Florida.
Claude is an ardent watchdog over all aspects of the Organization’s financial management and forcefully safeguards the organization’s financial obligations. He is responsible for UFOH continued compliance with the government rules and guidelines and believes ardently in transparency.
Franz Thame is a founding member if the United Friends of Highgate. He has been a vigilant overseer of the organization’s funds and an excellent assistant to the Treasurer. Franz believes in fiscal responsibility and has been relentless in seeking funds to support UFOH’s mission whether it be sponsorship, personal contribution or membership dues.
“My involvement in the United Friends of Highgate is labor of love. But this is not unique at all and I can say with no fear of contradiction that all our members give of themselves unselfishly and enjoy giving because it is a labor of love. We started this all-volunteer organization with membership dues of $120 per year; it has not changed since.
“Out of our pockets we registered UFOH and launched our first fundraising venture. Its financial successful enabled us to launch another and many other fundraisers since; all has been successful so far. Yet we have never used a cent for administrative purposes or any other purpose other than to keep our promise regarding our mission. Now, after ten years, we have established our organization as a credible institution dedicated to the welfare of the needy and disenfranchised in our beloved hometown. It is a privilege to be involved with United Friends of Highgate, an organization that shows not only what we can achieve individually, but also how much we can accomplish as a community when we support each other.”
Franz joined United Friends of Highgate in 2007. He has an extensive background in business administration, having held a number of senior executive positions in the private sector as well as with government, including 25 years with Dade County. Franz has a BS in Business Administration from Florida International University.
Jannett (Jan) Matthews: “Children born into poverty have little or no control over their health, education, quality of life and future. No one selects their parents and even so, circumstances determine the plight of both parents and children. It seems to me that if our circumstance is one in which we can stretch a hand to help a less fortunate human being, it is not just the right thing; the kind thing to do but our civic duty, especially when they are children”. Vice President Jannett Matthews finished speaking amidst a thunderous round of applause at a meeting.
Jan is a daughter of Highgate who attended St. Mary High School in its early years before migrating to England. She moved to the United States of America in 1984 and became a member of the United Friends of Highgate (UFOH) in 2007. Since joining the organization she has worn many hats from Chair of Fundraising to spokesperson and member of the Board of Directors.
She retired as a corporate executive in 2008 and has since dedicated her life to charity. Her dedication to serving the poor and disenfranchised led to a full-time commitment to the church where her daughter and son-in-law are the pastors, as well as service to Highgate through UFOH. You can find Jan either at the church, involved in some project through UFOH, or supporting local community events
Jan’s desire for Highgate is to see it flourishing once more, with the hustle and bustle of the local market and other businesses; for it to be the prototype for other towns and cities to emulate.
Herma Davis is a founding member of the United Friends of Highgate. She was born and raised in Highgate where she attended the Highgate Primary and Highgate Continuation High Schools. It is therefore no surprise that Herma’s passion is Highgate. She had no second thought when asked to be the secretary at the beginning of the organization. It has been her accepted duty to record the minutes and presented a report which she has done unfailingly every month for the past ten years. It is with dedication and a deep sense of duty that she also gives her experience and passion as a director in this organization.
She graduated from High School in Highgate and moved to Kingston in the summer of 1970. That year she launched a career as a legal secretary. Her first job was with Judah Desnoes & Co. a law firm in Kingston. Herma migrated to the United States in 1981 and settled in North Miami where she continued her profession as a legal secretary. However, thrilled by contemporary African clothes and a love for fashion, she augmented her legal career by launching a fashion designing business.
“Being a part of the United Friend of Highgate has added value to my life in so many ways. It’s a mission with friends; indeed, a mission with family that compels only satisfactory achievements in helping the people we know and love. For me the idea of helping Highgate heightens the reality that it is also helping Jamaica, thus, even in a small way, lessening poverty and crime in our loved island”.
Herma’s philosophy is that our mission is to save lives and celebrate life, each and every day. She believes that although we are individuals it is important for us to come together as a united force with the power to free those we can from pain and suffering in any form it exist.
RICHARD (RICH) CAMPBELL
Richard (Rich) Campbell grew up in Highgate, St. Mary. In those days, his mom (“Nurse” as she was fondly called) worked for the Ministry of Health while his dad was employed by the Ministry of Agriculture. He is a graduate of St. Mary High School and has never lost contact with his old school. His mother served a guidance counselor at St. Mary High and subsequently his sister also served in that capacity.
In 1997, he moved to South Florida after migrating to and living in New York for thirteen years. Rich became a member of the United Friends of Highgate one year after the organization was launched. Coming from a background closely tied to healthcare and recognizing the terrible inadequacy of health care in Highgate, Rich felt compelled to help in that area of community development. Members recognized his passion and voted for him to be the chair of the Health Committee. Since then, along with his committee members and members in the Highgate chapter of the organization, Rich has helped organize and has been participating in an annual health fair at the Highgate Health Center. Along with his committee, he also solicits and coordinates donations to the Highgate Health Center as well as the local hospitals.
Rich is the organization’s “resident DJ and provides background and reggae music for fund raising and other social events. “I love music of all genres. I also love growing things, a habit I got from his dad”, Rich said.
Richard (Rich) Campbell is CPA who worked with PriceWaterhouseCoopers for fifteen years. Currently he is a Controller at BankUnited as their Controller, a position he has held for six years.
Leo Mitchell is a founding member of the United Friends of Highgate. A friendly, resourceful and self-confident individual Leo is well known in every sector of the Highgate community. Because of his contacts in the community; the considerate and straightforward manner in which he behaves; his dependability in keeping promises to the needy and his ability to observe simple as well as complex needs of the community in general, he was elected liaison officer for UFOH with responsibility to liaises between the Florida and Highgate chapters. It is through his efforts that the two organizations are able to communicate and coordinate their activities.
“My life is with the poor and forgotten people of the community in which I grew up. I know many of these poor people but more importantly they know me and have come to depend on UFOH”, Leo said, “I observe the poor condition of the police facilities as well as the need for safety on the streets and it engenders a deep feeling of urgency to take care of these things. I often experience a feeling of hopelessness when I realize that the most important need is money which is exactly what we do not have.”
Leo is an entrepreneur with lifelong accomplishments in business. As a qualified mechanic, he holds certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Services Excellence (ASE). He is a member of the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide and teaches auto mechanics and air-conditioning.
A true entrepreneur he owns and operates L & P LED light, a company that exclusively sells residential commercial LED fixtures and bulbs. He is also the coordinator for the Caribbean portable solar generations (sales) manufactured by Sustainable Energy and Water.
Audrey Grant: A trained and dedicated health care professional Audrey is a founding member of the United Friends of Highgate. She launched the Health Committee as its chair and immediately linked the committee with the Highgate chapter’s health committee as well as health care professionals within the community. Thus, she established a functional working relationship between the Highgate and Florida chapters. In September 2007, she launched the first health fair which became a standard yearly event in great demand by the people of the community.
It is through this linkage that her committee began supplying the health center with equipment and medical supplies provided by various donors in the US. Audrey was responsible for establishing contact with the Ministry of Health working with the Medical Officer in charge of health care for St. Mary. After eight years she gave up the Chairmanship in favor of the co-chair position based on personal matters that would prevent optimal performance of the health committee.
“I am humbled and honored to be a part of an organization dedicated to providing assistance in health care, education and social welfare to the people of the community in which I spent my early years”, said Audrey. “My desire to work with this incredible group of individuals and the Board of Directors is because my fervent belief is that to help the impoverished person, we should not merely provide the resources to satisfy their individual need but we must create the conditions where each person in our community is treated with dignity and respect. It is to this end that our mission was created in the first place”
Audrey studied at the Marymount High School in Highgate and graduated from the University Hospital School of Nursing in Kingston, Jamaica as a Registered Nurse. She graduated from the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, in England, as a Certified Midwife. Audrey has many years of experience working in multiple areas of medicine in the US, including Med/Surg, Obstetrics, Critical Care, and most recently in Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation care.
Tyrone (Ty) McLaughlin was introduction to United Friends of Highgate (UFOH) in 2007 by his friend, the treasurer Claude Turnbull. Claude was hosting that month’s meeting which made it even more comfortable for Ty to attend. But that was only the beginning, he immediately fell in love with UFOH; it’s professional meeting style; it’s goals and objectives and the friendly composure of the members. Focus and formality during the meeting paralleled any corporate monthly meeting. Ty realized immediately that he was among people who were no-nonsense about their job –albeit one of volunteerism.
Being a son of Highgate, a place of his infancy to early teen Ty was sold. In his words, “At that first meeting, I instantly fell in love with the organization. Their ideas were progressive even revolutionary in some cases. The members were dedicated enthusiastic and fun loving, but even more important they seem very serious about assisting the people and the town of Highgate. I had to be a part of this body of people whose ideas encapsulates mine.
I had visited Highgate earlier that year, or maybe the year prior after being away for many years. I left with a sunken heart. Highgate was not as I once remembered. The once peaceful, beautiful town was nowhere to be seen. The twenty first century demand on the town, overwhelmed Highgate’s 19th century ailing utilities and infrastructure. UFOH recognized that something had to be done. They had a plan. I became a part of that plan”.
Ty is also the co-chair for fundraising. His smooth manner, easy smile and non-aggressive attitude has made him a very valuable asset within every sector of UFOH. His early education in Highgate, his public service experience and Degree in Public Administration from the University of West London have been the tools he so easily volunteers in helping to move UFOH ever closer to its mission.
Winston Simmonds: One has to search carefully to find someone with greater passion for community service than Winston. As a Kiwanian with over sixteen years of service, he is a Distinguished Past President. His footprints leave one of Kiwanis Club of Lauderdale Lakes’ greatest achievements; the most financially successful Charity Ball, with sponsorship donation of over fifty thousand dollars.
He was born in Highgate, St. Mary but soon left for Glen Goff with his parents. However, he never forgot the town of his birth and has contributed to its development over the years. “The United Friends of Highgate is a truly unique organization that takes everything I’m passionate about and compasses it into one mission; one I believe in. I love the easy, un-assume volunteerism of its members and how it transforms lives in Jamaica.”
A Kingston College “Old Boy” he became an accountant and banker by training. Upon migrating to the United States (New York) he gained employment in the field of international commerce and transportation. He continued in this career path gaining experience in international shipping, transportation and logistics. He worked with the renowned international steamship company “Crowley American Transport Line Corp.” at various levels of operational and financial management positions and conclude eight & a half years of employment as a director with Crowley.
He is currently the founder, President and CEO of Caribbean Shipping & Consolidating Corp., founded in August of 1995, with headquarters in Miami, Florida and offices in Kingston Jamaica and Port Of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic.
Winston has a BS degree from University Of North Florida (UNF) and has earned many citations, commendations and is the proud recipient of a Proclamation from the city of Miami-Dade County Government, September 26, 2002) for his humanitarian efforts from various governmental and non-governmental organizations.