The Star (Jamaica)

Emotional send-off expected for Bunny Diamond today

- RUDDY MATHISON STAR Writer

Rosemarie Simpson could not conceal her emotions yesterday as she stood over the open casket staring steadfastl­y at the body of her father, world-renowned member of the Mighty Diamonds group, Fitzroy ‘Bunny Diamond’ Simpson.

Well-wishers and loved ones were able to view the body of the reggae great inside Perry’s Funeral Chapel in Spanish Town, St Catherine. Bunny Diamond was decked out in a cream suit with blue shirt and matching tie and his dreadlocks done in a fashionabl­e curl. A big-screen TV on the wall of the chapel played a music video of the group performing one of their smash hits, When the Right Time Come. Bunny Diamond will be laid to rest in the Meadowrest Memorial Park in Spanish Town today after a 10 a.m. service at the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew.

“It hurts ... but I guess I can take solace from the fact that I saw him in November, this helps a lot,” Simpson told THE STAR while she desperatel­y tried to fight back tears.

“I always talk to him every Sunday, even when I don’t call I know he was okay because I will always speak to my sister. He was the best dad who raised us up the right way, he was always there, took us to school and pick us up in the evenings after school.”

She said that her father’s strong Rastafaria­n influence had a tremendous bearing on how he raised his daughters and two others who were not his biological children.

“He was very strict on us, no male was allowed at the house. If we wear any short skirt he would say, ‘You can’t wear that outside.’ We really had a lot of fun growing up. He was a good storytelle­r who told a lot of jokes. I remember the days when the car would break down in the middle of the road and we would get out and push to get it started. These are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said Simpson.

But while she was able to garner some degree of strength, Jedalia Gilzine, the deceased singer’s niece, was overcome with emotions and had to be supported by her cousin. Her only words between sobs were “I love my uncle.” Simpson said that although she knew this moment would come, she just wasn’t prepared for his passing.

Bunny, who suffered a stroke in 2010 while driving in Kingston, was reportedly battling diabetes for several years. He passed away on April 1 in hospital.

As a member of the Mighty Diamonds which was formed in 1969, Simpson mainly provided backup vocals. The group, which released more than 40 albums, delivered hits such as I Need a Roof and Pass the Kuchie.

 ?? ?? Rosemarie Simpson, Bunny Diamond’s daughter, stands beside her father’s closed coffin.
Rosemarie Simpson, Bunny Diamond’s daughter, stands beside her father’s closed coffin.
 ?? RUDOLPH BROWN ?? Inspector Mark Watson, a Mighty Diamonds fan, views the body of Fitzroy ‘Bunny Diamond’ Simpson at Perry’s Funeral Home, Job Lane, Spanish Town, on Wednesday.
RUDOLPH BROWN Inspector Mark Watson, a Mighty Diamonds fan, views the body of Fitzroy ‘Bunny Diamond’ Simpson at Perry’s Funeral Home, Job Lane, Spanish Town, on Wednesday.
 ?? FILE ?? Bunny Diamond
FILE Bunny Diamond
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