Chris Alleyne – A Tribute

My best friend Chris Alleyne passed away recently. It saddens me that he will not be making more visual art or having fun on his guitar. 

Our deepest condolences to Adam, Shaun and the family.

Chris was a 'Doer' – he grabbed life by the horns and ran with it!

I got to know him in 1975 when my brother John started going out with Pilar Heath. We often hung out with her family at the Dynamite Bar on their gallery drinking rum until 2 am. Chris was a friend of the family so he was often there with us - a guitar always nearby and some bawdy songs that would have everyone in stitches!

We got friendly having many common interests – photography, guitar, motor sport – often it seemed that I was a voyeur on the outside looking in through my lens, while Chris was often deep within an activity.

Chris Alleyne chatting with the guys in Sugar Hill - 1975 N26-15-20
Chris Alleyne Testing the Limits! Woodburn, 1980 #5

In motor sport he wasn't on the outside photographing it – he was sitting in the navigator's seat with Freddie Mapp in his Escort or driving special stages testing the limits.

Of course he had always been into motorcycles so there he was in the fray of the dirt bike guys that started racing at Bushy Park and going on rides in the wild areas of Barbados.

In those days working on your own car was almost a neccesity. When my old Riley Elf was in need of serious help he was there helping me rebuild the engine and then get it into the replacement Mini body I bought from Val Knowles.

Jackie and I were going out and we would often visit Chris at Black Bess and have lunch there with Granny Parris – great memories. He was working at the plantation then and he would take us out in the fields and show us the sugar cane root boorers that were attacking his canes or the fields of onions they were growing. He was always excited and engaged with whatever he was involved with.

Chris Alleyne Testing the Limits! Woodburn #1
Chris Alleyne Testing the Limits! Woodburn #2
Chris Alleyne Testing the Limits! Woodburn #4

I photographed his and Valerie's Wedding and we all got closer over those years. Then they were off to the States for a year or two while Chris pursued study in professional photography – they returned with Chris managing the first official color photo lab in Barbados.

All of my color portrait or event color negatives were processed at SunColor under Chris – I would stop at the lab to pickup a shoot and always had to bum a cigarette from him as I was usually in some stage of quitting.  

Chris's strong entrepreneurial side developed further with his forming SunBeach bringing internet communications to Barbados in the 80's. By this time Jackie and I had moved to California so alot of what was happening back in Bim is fuzzy, but whenever we got the chance to return Chris would be there to get us from the airport or lend us a car until we got setup and of course bunk in at his house until our rental became available.

May you sail your new journeys with

"Fair Winds and Following Seas"

  • “Insect” Was his nickname. He did a really good impersonation of Gordon Lightfoot at the Holiday Inn Pier a few times, with The Ivory band. Stayed with friends at his Cattlewash house for a few days in 1975 and played his guitar quite a bit he gave me permission.

  • I met Chris at Germain School of Photography in New York 1977. We were both going thru the commercial photography course. We became friends, which was easy to do with Chris as I recall. I have fond memories of him, followed his developing online presence, portfolio over the years. He was talented even back then and his career, his art and his legacy certainly reflects the person I knew him to be.

    • Hello Lawrence – thanks for the comment – the thing about Chris was that he was interested and skillful at everything he set about doing. And most importantly he was the friendliest and one of the most outgoing people we knew – always ready with a smile or a joke. He is sorely missed.

  • Craig, this is a lovely heart-felt tribute to Chris. As I left Barbados inn1971, I was not aware that you and Chris were close friends. I was devastated by his death, having reconnected a few years earlier before CoVid hit, and then staying in communication over the two years in which there was no travel. Dave and I were looking forward to seeing him when we next visited Barbados. The sense of loss of his friendship is profound.

    • Hi Lynn – I still often find myself thinking about him – we got friendly from about 1975 – he was good friends with Pilar and Quelo Heath and when John and Pilar got together we all hung out alot together, and even moreso when Jackie and I got together as she knew Chris quite well – Granny Parris at Black Bess used to have a nice lunch there quite often for us!

    • Hi Deborah – thanks for the comment – the system works – Jackie and I are still upset. I guess we are all getting to that stage where the body is no longer holding up – I hit 70 in Dec!

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