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A golden Arrow..

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 18:42 UK time, Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Alphonsus "Arrow" Cassell - the man who gave the world the summer classic "Hot,Hot,Hot" died earlier this month at the ridiculously early age of 60.

He was Montserrat's favourite - and most famous- son and on Friday the island's 5 thousand population will swell by 20 per cent as people from all around the world arrive to pay their respects - and give thanks for the life of - the "Soca King".

And hopefully i'll be one of them if i can squeeze on to one of the extra ferries and flights being laid on by the island's tourist board.

I've been going there on and off for 23 years since being first sent there by my old radio station in London- Capital.

I'll admit i fell in love with the place - it's beauty, the hospitable people and the atmosphere. I followed the island's fortunes through Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and then the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1997, which killed 19 people.

In the aftermath of that disaster, thousands left the island - visitors stopped coming and the future of Montserrat seemed uncertain.

But Arrow- the star who travelled around the world, who mixed with the world's music stars, he stayed. In a powerful signal he decided that Montserrat was " still home , still nice" and he wasn't going to give up on the place.

As if he wasn't already a hero, he became one after that.

It's why he is to Montserrat what Bob Marley is to Jamaica.

I had the privilege of meeting his many times over the years and apart from his being kind, courteous, un-starry and charming he was a very proud Montserratian. I'm sure his end-off will reflect what he meant to people but also the happiness and pleasure he brought to people - not just in the Caribbean.

I'm fortunate to be covering the event- which is what it is- for the BBC, and will keep you posted here.

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