Bermuda Day Grand Marshal 2015 – An Atlantic Garden
George Llewellyn Hollis, a third generation fisherman, has become well known for his adventures at sea. His love of the ocean began in his earliest years when his grandmother babysat him. She would keep him in a punt while she searched the shoreline for mussels, which she later sold to markets. When his family moved to Spanish Point, he became acquainted with older fisherman. He enjoyed learning about their work and hearing their tall tales. Eventually, he was able to go out with them on fishing trips and later blow the conch shell around the neighbourhood to sell the catch. During those early days, Mr. Hollis took up scuba diving, bottle collecting and participated in powerboat racing. Today, he is the oldest living racer from that era.
Sometime in the 1970s, Mr. Hollis began commercial fishing. Being an engineer by trade gave him an edge in fishing. He combined his knowledge of technology with his fishing and developed many successful techniques.
He has had the honour of assisting in the rescue of countless vessels over the years. Of course like any seaman, he has a treasury of stories to tell. He often recounts his adventures as a fisherman and an ocean rescuer. These informal talks led to his being invited to the world-renowned Smithsonian Folklife Festival held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2001. In that year the Smithsonian hosted its 35th Annual Folklife Festival, where Bermuda’s culture and folklife were impressively displayed.
Mr. Hollis was chosen to serve on the Government’s Historic Wrecks Authority when it first came into operation. He still serves on other marine-related boards. Mr. Hollis has also been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bermuda Arts Council in 2009 and served as a Tradition Bearer in the Folklife Apprenticeship Programme also in 2009. Mr. Hollis was featured in the Bermuda Folklife Documentary – Llewellyn Hollis – Fisherman launched on 19 June 2014.
His delightfully entertaining stories convey not only the noteworthy practices of the past, but also the wisdom and creative thinking upon which they were founded. With each enthusiastic re-telling of history, he is generating well-deserved respect and honour for the past and those associated with it.