Fri, Dec

REX BURNETT, an outstanding Trinidad and Tobago right winger of the 1950s who toured England with the national football team on the historic stint in England in 1953, is dead at 86.

Burnett, dubbed "The Artist", died as a result of heart complications, said his wife Ida, who was at his bedside at their residence at Apple Blossom Avenue, Petit Valley, when he passed away last Friday. The couple were married for 48 years.

A St Mary's College old boy, Burnett represented the "Saints" at both cricket and football.

His younger brother was Harold Burnett, a former QRC footballer and cricketer who later became secretary of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control. Harold Burnett died a decade ago.

Rex was a long-time member of Notre Dame Football Club, which he joined in 1938, the year he left school.

He was instrumental in Notre Dame winning the First Division League Shield and the Gooden Chislohm Cup, contested between the champion teams of North and South Trinidad.

But the highlight of his distinguished football career was the trip to England aboard the SS Golfito which landed in Southampton, England on June 24, 1953.

Although he was the senior member of the team, playing alongside younger players like Shay Seymour and Earl "Pepperwine" Lovelace, Burnett was a star on the team which played 14 matches.

In 1941, he also toured Barbados with a Casuals combined team and although he was recognised for his ability to create goals, he ended several tours as a top scorer.

Burnett played a crucial role in the revival of inter-colonial football with Barbados and Guyana.

In the triangular series, in which each team played the other twice, Burnett played in all four games and formed a remarkable understanding with the late "Nattie" Sealy.

Burnett was a permanent member of the national team from the early 1940s to 1953 and remained a top-notch player for Notre Dame, popularly referred to as "The Family", taking all the honours at inter-league and inter-territorial level.

Following his retirement, he was honoured by the Trinidad and Tobago Government with a Humming Bird gold medal for long and meritorious service to sport and was also inducted into the West Indian Tobacco Sports Foundation Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife Ida and two daughters, Dawn Fifi and Debra Burnett.

He will be cremated tomorrow at the St James Crematorium, following a service at St Crispin's EC Church, Alberto Street, Woodbrook.