A true patriot of Fiji

Listen to this article:

Kirti Patel and Allen Lockington. Picture: SUPPLIED

Allen Lockington lived a life that touched so many people and it’s hard to know where to begin.

He is the man with a generous nature who has left us to live among angels in heaven. A man who did the nation proud. Someone who always thought about his fellow citizens and a champion of democracy.

A man who was selfless and giving. A man who helped many people. A man who always put others first. He didn’t just make the impact in the Western Division only, but the nation. Many fondly smile and remember him when we take the name of Mr Lockington.

Many of his friends have many fond memories of Allen, as he is affectionately known, from his school days to his adult and family life, his working colleagues at the Customs Department in Lautoka and Fijians of all walks of life.

He is sure to put a smile on your face with his lively interactions. He kept his friends entertained, laughed at everything together, his sense of humour was great. He often bonded over music with his friends.

It’s hard to believe he’s gone. He was a shining star that burned out too soon. Mr Lockington was blessed with unique talents, abilities and a passion for writing, highlighting issues to improve the quality of lives of the poor.

He was a letter writer who inspired many and has been writing to the Letters to the Editor column of this newspaper for a very long time. The Fiji Times, awarded Mr Lockington the nation’s greatest “letter writer”.

A group of letter writers referred to him as their “guru”. It was not just his actions, but his writings that also made impact on people around the county. His often short and witty letters would hit the nail on the head and he often caught off-side with those in power, especially over last 16 years.

The nation is at loss with the passing of a great man. When I visited him at the hospital, I hoped that he would see better days, but his immediate family knew his predicament. He talked, he smiled, but deep inside he knew the pain he was going through.

I prayed that he recovers soon, however, God had other plans for him. Mr Lockington had a heart of gold. Despite his health issues he endorsed Sashi Kiran – a NFP candidate now an Assistant Minister in the coalition government – and campaigned for her.

He had a strong conviction that it was time for a change of government because of the increasing level of poverty, rising costs of living, poor wages and high unemployment, which led many people to visit his home – a food bank – for groceries.

Mr Lockington was known for his love for grog, the famous Kava Place, where many of his grog buddies enjoyed his company and conversation. He truly had a gift to connect to people, understand them, make them feel special and foremost made them feel that they mattered.

Mr Lockington was a champion of the poor. A true patriot who stood by his fellow citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic when Kava Place became a refuge where groceries and food parcels were distributed to thousands of citizens who had lost jobs and couldn’t put food on their tables.

His vision, time, and financial contributions, especially during the pandemic COVID-19, are legendary. A government delegation will be attending his funeral today as a mark of respect to one of our own, most loved and respected, a person with unassuming philanthropic accomplishments and an exemplary citizen.

We thank him for his contribution to the Letters to the Editor. We thank him for the assistance he provided to the poor and needy especially during the pandemic, but most of all, we thank him for the love he had for our nation and his help to bring about the muchneeded change.

The nation mourns the loss not only of the philanthropist, but of a friend. To say that Allen Lockington will be missed is an understatement.

I extend my heartfelt sympathies to his wife Sera, and daughters Virisila, Silina and Manavesi and pray that God provides them solace at this time of their loss.

• KIRTI PATEL is a regular contributor to this newspaper. The views expressed in this article are the author’s.