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‘I’ve lost my best friend’

News day / The Roy and Gloria television capsules sought to unravel the most complicated social issues for the better understanding of the general public. Yesterday, Dawn Henry, who played the role of “Gloria”, stared blankly as she tried to come to terms with the loss of her partner in theatre, Hal Greaves, who for many years took on the role of “Roy”.

The humanitarian and theatre practitioner died on Saturday morning at the age of 55. In an interview with Newsday at Greaves’ home at Rushworth Street, San Fernando yesterday, Henry said his passing is difficult for her as she has not only lost her best friend, but she has lost someone who has impacted on her life in a very deep and sincere way.

“When I hear him speak about turning around the communities and about giving the youths hope, I felt it was my duty to work on these youth outreach projects,” Henry said, adding that Greaves was very passionate about putting purpose in the lives of the youths who had somehow lost their way.

Having worked alongside him for 30 years, yesterday she called on God to give her the courage to deal with the loss. Just one week ago she was with him at the Trinidad Hilton doing short pieces of drama. She can still hear his powerful voice calling out her stage name “Gloooria” and this in itself will loosen up the crowds and have them laughing. Henry said Greaves understood the power of interactive theatre and how it worked as a mirror to reflect life lessons. In March, she was working with him on his project Hands of Hope in John John, Laventille and Hearts and Minds football at St Paul Street, Port-of- Spain.

Greaves, she said, should be remembered for the work he has done in rehabilitating gangsters who wanted to abandon their lives of crime but couldn’t get the support they needed to make that change. The Ministry of Community Development depended on Greaves and Henry to reach out to the community of Laventille and, despite the perception that this community is filled with crime and violence, they went into the district and communicated with the gang leaders and gang members.

Henry says she has memories to last a lifetime in that she remembers vividly when they walked through the streets of Laventille, the so-called “Bad Johns” would approach them and thank them for all that they did in helping the fallen youths. “People were saying it is because of us that they knew how to deal with their personal problems,” she said. They eventually started a workshop with the theme “Defining Masculine and Excellence” in the hope of reaching the men who did not know how to deal with family life.

Henry said at the end of this workshop, the people understood that God loves everybody and they should love themselves enough to change their attitude towards life.

At the time of his passing Greaves was preparing for the annual Sugren Street Police Children’s Christmas party. She urged the people of Laventille to continue the work he began and to honour him by becoming better individuals.

Henry said she heard Greaves died of a heart attack and she knew that he had an attack last year. She was hoping that he would recover from his illness and live to become old in the business.

But she believes that God had another plan for him and she has to accept this. Greaves’ funeral is scheduled to take place at the Open Bible Church at Ruth Avenue, San Fernando tomorrow.

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