Reprinted from Jamaica Gleaner
There's nothing strange about a man serenading a woman. But for a man who is blind, battling bone-marrow cancer and end-stage renal failure, two days before his first dialysis, serenading his wife in front of about 200 persons at a public function, is not what most people would expect.
But then, we're talking about Richard Forbes, a man of indomitable spirit who, despite the ravages of chemotherapy, refuses to be robbed of his joie de vivre. So, at The Queen's School's 60th Anniversary Gala, recently, when ace performer, Karen Smith, asked 'who wants to sing to their Queen?' Forbes' hand shot up and was not lowered till the mic was firmly in his grasp.
Richard Forbes, amiably known as 'Pardie' by family and friends, belted out his version of the Temptations' hit song, My Girl. His wife, one of the school's special honourees of the night, Dr Marcia Forbes, said she was so impressed that she just sat there in awe, forgetting to even snap a picture or, better yet, to video tape him via her smartphone. Richard is the founder of Phase Three Productions, a multi-media company well-known for its video productions.
Marcia noted, "Richard has always fancied himself a DJ. In his youth, he managed a band and had his own disco, 'Sounds Impossible', as hobbies, so music has always been an important part of his life."
Richard said he was motivated to sing to his wife, to show her how much he appreciates her. That, plus the great time he was having at the function, surrounded by his son, Richard Forbes Jnr. and fiance, Royen Chin, as well as close friends.
On social networks, Richard is referred to as 'Fortis Man'. This, his wife said, is in honour of his Kingston College (KC) heritage, as well as his fighting spirit in the face of health challenges. Richard Forbes lives the motto of his alma mater, 'The Brave May Fall but Never Yield'.
Richard Forbes attended KC for seven years, during the 1960s, from 1st to 6th form during the tenure of the school’s second headmaster, Mr. Douglas Forrest. His contemporaries at KC included: Dr Hugh Vaughan, Dr Robert Wan and Dr Lennox Miller. He was not an athlete but had good organizing skills and so would assist with Organizing Sports Day and Champs Training.
Richard got a distinction in Art at “A” 'Level and was awarded a scholarship to study Graphic Art in the USA, but his father, a school Principal, said, “no” as he did not feel being what he described as a 'sign painter' was a worthy field for Richard to pursue.
Richard loves KC and ensures that his company, Phase Three Production’s Fleet of vehicles all boast Fortis Stickers that are changed regularly so they look fresh and clean.
All his past and present Doctors went to KC: Dr Vaughan, Dr Wan and now Dr Garfield Forbes.