December 20 2014 Latest news:
Monday, March 3, 2014
Their last Caribbean adventure ended in robbery, violence and bloodshed when a holiday cruise turned sour.
But when Phil and Ann Prior return to Barbados this week, the gentle thud of leather on willow will make a pleasant change from the brutal gunshots that marred their previous visit.
The Barbados Tourism Authority has offered the couple an all-expenses paid luxury holiday with Twenty20 tickets to see England take on the West Indies as recompense for last year’s shocking experience.
As a keen cricket fan, Mr Prior, 73, was delighted by the offer - but he was quite astonished when Sir Garry Sobers, the legendary West Indian all-rounder, attended the Queen’s Head in Dennington to make the invite personally.
“For someone like me who grew up with cricket, it was like meeting an old friend,” he said.
“He was a very affable fellow and a great chap, easy to talk to and had a fantastic knowledge of the game.”
The Priors, from Bedfield, near Framlingham, will fly business class from Heathrow on Saturday for a fortnight of luxury in an “extremely plush” Barbadian hotel where they will reconvene with Sir Garry and other cricket heroes including Wes Hall to watch the action in Bridgetown.
The visit coincides almost exactly with the year anniversary of their last visit to the island when the couple were passengers on a 34 day cruise from Chile to Southampton on the P&O Adonia.
While walking back to the ferry following a Commonwealth Day service on March 17 they were gunned down during a robbery.
Mrs Prior’s bag was grabbed and then two shots rang out as she was shot in the thigh and Mr Prior in the groin.
“My own personal feeling was the absolute astonishment and alarm of seeing my wife lovely wife lying on the floor, bleeding profusely,” said Mr Prior
Despite the trauma of the ordeal, Mr Prior says they are not afraid of returning as their abiding memories of Barbados are of the wonderful support they received and the kindness of the local people.
“I look back thinking that I did not suffer any long lasting effect where as there are others people in far worse situations than I ever was,” said Mr Prior.
“I’m going back to see these great people who helped me out in a difficult time, to have some fun at the cricket and enjoy a good glass or two of cabernet sauvignon.”
Junior Orlando Hunte, who pleaded guilty to the shooting, is due before a judge in Barbados to receive his sentence today.