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Tributes paid to travel pioneer Everton Forbes

ADMIRED PIONEER: Everton Forbes

TRIBUTES have been paid to Everton Uriah Forbes, who has died aged 83.

Forbes is credited as being one of the first black travel agents in post-war Britain. He was a pioneering Jamaican who, without any formal business experience or training, managed to establish firstly a travel agency and later a flourishing shipping service which was hailed as raising the bar for black businesses.

For more than 20 years his companies Everton Forbes Travel, and later, Everton Forbes Shipping, became synonymous with travel and shipping to the Caribbean.

The entrepreneur was born on March 22, 1933, the younger of a pair of twins – and one of three sets of twins – to David and Louise Forbes, in Black River, in the parish of St Elizabeth, Jamaica. After attending Parroty Basic School near his home he left at the age of 12 to take up var- ious jobs, including farming and butchery.

Aged 16, he moved to Kingston, and got an apprenticeship as a printer with The Jamaica Times newspaper, where he stayed for six years. In 1955, he travelled to England, and found lodgings in Stoke Newington, north London, and within weeks was working as a bus conductor.

In 1968 he become his own boss. He found a niche market in the travel industry arranging charter flights to the Caribbean, and began his business working from home. As the business grew, he was able to rent shop front premises in north London.

Ken Hanson, Chair of the Association of Jamaicans, recalled: “Everton was very determined – he wouldn’t let anything put him off. The words ‘can’t’ and ‘give up’ were never in his vocabulary.” Business associate Eric Bryson, of the African Caribbean Leadership Company, said: “He knew how to get things done, and we have a lot to thank him for.”

Everton Uriah Forbes is survived by his wife Phyllis, three children and eight grandchildren.

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