Jonathan “Jonty” Crosse was born and educated in the United Kingdom and first arrived in Bahrain for a holiday in July 1972 aged 13. His father, Tony, had just joined, the then, national carrier of the Gulf, “Gulf Aviation” the predecessor to Gulf Air, as a pilot flying Fokker Friendships (F27) then VC10’s, and ultimately the ‘5 Star’ Tristar L1011.
Up until the end of 1987, when Tony retired, Jonty’s mother, Patsy, made Bahrain home for her family at a time when infrastructure was not what it is today and services were more basic. In spite of the challenges, she was able in 1974, along with Sheikha Lulwa Al Khalifa of the Children and Mothers Welfare Society, to establish “Hope House” Bahrain’s first home for the orphaned and handicapped, for which she received the MBE. Giving back to the community continues to run in the family with Jonty having been Chairman of the St George’s Society and President of the Bahrain Rugby Club and Jonty’s wife, is Chairman of the Palm Association which raises money for the poor and needy on the Island.
One of Jonty’s earliest memories of Bahrain relates to Bahrain’s famous summer heat and the lack of air conditioning in those days with which to combat it. “We really spent more time outside than kids seem to do today,” he explains. “Because there was less organised entertainment, we made our own fun, camping or boating or fishing, or a combination of all three when we would go to one of the many islands around Bahrain and camp overnight.”
A senior wealth manager today for an international Bank (Merrill Lynch), Jonty is married to Eibhlin and has 2 children, Cian and Dearbhla, both of whom were born and raised in Bahrain. “The kids that grow up here are exposed to many different cultures and religions. When you couple that with the acceptance of children in all social gatherings here, you find that they grow up engaged, able and tolerant. This also means that they are not afraid to travel and seek new horizons.
When asked why he chose to remain in Bahrain for so many years, Jonty explains that, for him, it is the sense of being part of the Bahraini society that makes it all the more reason to stay here, he added “Bahrainis are extremely friendly and indeed tolerant. This is simply what makes Bahrain our home.”