Vincent Roy Lumsden was born on the July 19, 1930 one of six boys and one girl, the children of Cecil Ivan Lumsden of Bartons St. Catherine and his wife Satira Hartley of Buff Bay, Portland. Satira was from a Maroon family.
Vin attended Buff Bay Elementary School, and later Mavis Knibb Preparatory in Kingston. In 1943 he won a government scholarship there were about 30 scholarships from Government and Trusts in the whole island – in those pre common entrance days. That scholarship landed him at Munro.
At Munro, his Headmasters were Rev. A. G “Sandy” Frazer, then Basil Ward. Ken Dunleavy was his sportsmaster. The combined discipline earned him a Grade 1 in Senior Cambridge examinations, seven colours in sports, with several captaincies and Head Prefect in the Summer and Christmas terms of 1949. His colours were in cricket, hockey, boxing, gymnastics, rifle shooting, tennis and athletics. He made it on the football team but played so badly against Beckford and Smith (now St. Jago) missing an open goal that Dunleavy dropped him – the evil that men do- in missing that goal – lives after them.
Lumsden was not a “goody two shoes” for he can compare the capacity of Wiehen, Boland, Dunleavy and others with the cane. Dunleavy, from whom he got eight strokes of the cane for ragging a master was the hottest. The internal discipline imposed by the boys in those days was rigid, but fair. However, there were occasions of bullying but Professor Meryvn Morris has been able to cite Vin Lumsden as “a friend of the small boy”.
He left Munro and went to work at Inswood Estate. Inswood was very glad to get this great cricketer but General Manager “Pharaoh” Campbell while glad for the cricket enhancement, warned Lumsden that “my middle name is wuk”.
In 1951 he got a government agriculture scholarship to attend McGill University in Canada. Another student got a similar scholarship to be taken up at Cambridge, England. However, the qualifications of the boy could not get him into Cambridge. So, an exchange was made, and Vin Lumsden went to Cambridge. At Cambridge he got a blue and a two, no rhyme intended. The blue was for representing Cambridge at cricket and the two was his second-class honors. When the Dean enquired of Lumsden how he had done he replied that he only got a two. The Dean said, “the people who get ones usually end up working for the people who get threes”.
While at Cambridge he played cricket at Lords and Ken Dunleavy came to Lords to see him play and talk over old times over a beer or two. While at Cambridge also, he became interested in horse racing and visited Newmarket but did not take part in betting. Then one day, a Friday the 13th with its bad reputation he gave an attendant money to bet on three races. The 1st was a loss but the second and third were winners and he never looked back, as we shall see.
Vin got married in his last year at Cambridge and the union produced Susan, now Susan Goffe of human rights fame, Richard and Michael both working in economics and finance in Jamaica, Paul a lawyer in Cayman and David an artist in London.
In 1956 Vin came back to Jamaica and worked with the Banana Board. In 1962 upon a change in government he was asked to write his resignation consequent on his mother’s activism for the outgoing Party. He could not find employment for a year. Then in 1963 he got a teaching post at Jamaica School of Agriculture under Principal “Pet” Gayle. There he taught Botany and Agronomy until 1965. Then it was on to Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) a government run Company. There he did his work professionally, for as Prime Minister Hugh Shearer was able to say to him “We know what you are, but you never show it in your work”.
In 1968 he became a commentator on horse racing for JBC and from 1981 to 1989 was an agricultural advisor to Minister of Agriculture Percy Broderick. In writing articles on agricultural topics, he insisted on being professional and even those who started out critical of his non-support of the political line, came to appreciate the credibility that professionalism supplied.
From 1990 he did private consultancy in agriculture and hosted a radio programme “Farm Time” in the afternoons. Vin was an Operations Steward for the Jamaica Racing Commission and now in his “retirement” he runs a small farm in Old Harbour mostly grass for the few horses which he owns and races.
Vin Lumsden is not a “Church man” but his faith causes him to believe that we are here to be fair minded and helpful to each other.
For the above and other reasons, Vincent Roy Lumden was proudly inducted into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame.