Wealthy patron of local arts dies at age 100

| 14/08/2013

(CNS): Helen Harquail, OBE, a wealthy prominent patron of the arts in the Cayman Islands, passed away on Monday at her East End home. Some of Cayman’s best known cultural institutions were as a result of her patronage from financial and land contributions, including the new National Gallery and the local theatre, which was named for her husband. A founding member of the National Trust, Harquail was also a keen protector of the environment. Culture Minister Osbourne Bodden said that she had “contributed to the very definition of who we are as a people” with her donations towards the gallery and the cultural foundation. Photo by David Wolfe

Harquail was a professional skater with the famous Ice Follies (which later became Holiday on Ice), and she and her late husband were avid theatre-goers. Athough almost reclusive in her later years, she still made important contributions to the local arts scene.

In 1997 Harquail donated the four-acre plot on which the National Gallery was built. She also donated a significant sum to the building fund.Almost three decades earlier she had donated eight acres to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation for the FJ Harquail Cultural Centre, which is now home to the Harquail Theatre.

Born in the prairie province of Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1912 she turned 100 years on 1 December.  The Harquails moved to the Cayman Islands in the late 1960s

See government statement below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Rest in Peace Mrs. Harquail. Thanks for all your contributions to Cayman and other charities all over the world. It was great doing work for you in the early days as you helped so many people!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Ms. Harquail, you were one of them that did something in the Island and did not come here to take. I very much appreciate your contributions!  You became one of us, because you did not try to change what beauty you found in the Island, but rather you fitted right in and enjoyed the Island and its people.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if Mrs Harqual receive a congratulatory letter form the Queen for her 100th birthday?  If not, perhaps it could be arranged posthumously.

    • Anonymous says:

      She did. It came along about a month after she turned 100 but she did get a letter from the Queen.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for your kind contributions, Helen. You and your husband are to be congratulated for your loving involvement in Caymanian society. May you enjoy many a skating session in heaven with your beloved husband(!). God bless.

  5. pmilburn says:

    Rest in Peace Helen.You will be missed by many and respected for what you have done for these islands by many many more.

  6. Quincy Klugman says:

    Let’s see how long it takes some politician to rename the theatre…….

  7. Anonymous says:

    I thank you Mrs. Harquail for your invaluable contributions to Cayman and its people.  You will remain in our hearts……May your soul now rest in peace.

  8. UH UH UH says:

    I've met the Queen, I've met Presidents, I've met Princes and  Supreme Court Justices, I've have joked around with Mohammed Ali and enjoyed dinner with Sidney Poitier. But getting to know Mrs. Harquail was the Greatest Honor of them all. 





  9. Anonymous says:

    I am saddened by the news of Mrs. Harquail's passing but happy to know that such a giving and well meaning soul lived to see the ripe old age of 100 years. May she rest in eternal peace.  Mrs. Harquail contributed much to our country for which all of us should be grateful, she will certainly continue to live in our memories.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Condolences to Mr Truman Bodden who she respected and thought so much of. May her dear soul rest in peace.