will payne 2013
Will Payne - photos 1934 and 2013

William 'Will' Payne’s parents, Reverend Thomas Payne and Gladys Payne immigrated to Trinidad from Barbados. His British father was a Minister of the Baptist Church, London Baptist Missionary Society who worked in Princes Town, Moruga and environs in Baptist Churches known as the Fourth Company, Fifth Company and the like.

For church service on Sundays, Will would accompany his father in their Model T Ford motor vehicle from church to church. The church yards would be full of bulls and oxen carts, the mode of transport for many people at that time. There was often confusion between his father's Baptist faith and that of the Shouter Baptist. During Sunday service, elders of the Church were given the task of respectfully explaining this to those who mistook one for the other. As a child, doctors advised Will that he had an enlarged heart that he may outgrow. As such, for a period in his youth, his ability to engage in strenuous activity for any lengthy time was curtailed. He and his friends would practise gymnastics, running races on their hands and making various formations from rings that they would hang from a Samaan tree in Irving Park, San Fernando.

Will played for the Trinidad Football Team while still at Naparima Boys High School in 1935 at the age of 18. He was selected to be a member of the Trinidad Football Team on a tour to Colombia and Jamaica. In the game against Jamaica, Will scored the first and third goals in a 3-2 victory for Trinidad. The next year, he was again selected to represent Trinidad to tour Suriname and British Guyana (now known as Guyana). At eighteen years old, William Payne was, at that time, the youngest football player to represent Trinidad.

Will also excelled at Table Tennis and was the Champion Player of Trinidad for seven consecutive years, from 1937-1944, when he retired as the undefeated champion. He also held weightlifting records in the 148lb class, in the clean and jerk, the snatch and the total weight categories.

For many years, Will played cricket for the Queen's Park Cricket Club and was awarded honorary Life Member status of the prestigious Club.

Will served as a Customs and Excise Officer for his entire working career from 1937 until his retirement in 1977, at which time he held the position of Acting Comptroller of Customs and Excise. As an excise officer, his duties were to visit rum shops, making sure they had paid their licenses and were not watering down the liquor, and to combat the possession of contraband such as opium.

William Payne at age 94 (in 2013) is in reasonably good health and lives with his daughter and family in Glencoe. He continues to hold on to his very prized scrap book of newspaper clippings and memoirs, which are very near and dear to him.

Willie Payne in Fred Thornhill's History of Intercol Football