Charlestown-Nevis-They showed up in their numbers. The class mates of the 4th Miss Culture Queen, Miss Jilian France James, showed up with scores of other individuals, to the memorial service held in honour of the late Nevisian cultural icon.
The service which was held at the St.Thomas’ Anglican Church on Thursday 22nd January, was ably presided over by Canon Ernest Flemming.
Among the classmates present were: Patricia Bartlette; Ernestine Rawlins; Lincoln Liburd; Sonia Williams; Amelia Wilkin; Glenford Herbert; Verlyn Claxton-Maynard; Glendale Herbert; Dorette Wallace-Parris; Paulette Hanley; Cresentia ‘Pipsin’ O’Flaherty; Jacqueline Brandy-Hunt; Ileta Nisbett; Idona Nisbett; Isabel Byron; Lincoln Barry and Gloria Caines.
An impressive collection of professionals, if there ever was one. All of them have made and are still making marked contributions to the communities of choice– whether in Nevis or in the Diaspora.
Their tribute in song, was one of the highlights of the memorial service. They sang melodiously “Precious Memories’ and moved some of their listeners to tears.
Patricia Bartlette sang the first verse; Jackie Hunt, the second and Verlyn Maynard, the third. Everyone joined in on the chorus.
They were superbly accompanied on guitar by the versatile Pat Bartlette who would have made her late brother, Frank, really proud and her other brother, Conrad YAMHEAD Bartlette, would not have been able to pull those guitar strings with more expertise and style.
The song was preempted by a short word by Ernestine Rawlins who spoke to the quality of diction of the late Jilian. She stated that when she won that historic queen show, the entire class won the show. They were that closely knit.
She also took time out to salute the Hon. Joseph Parry who was seated at the front of the church, as ‘one of their finest teachers ever.’
A tribute was also delivered by Antonio ‘Abonatty’ Liburd, CEO of the Culturama Secretariat who noted that Jillian France was not only the 4th winner of the Miss Culture Queen show but that she still has the record as the youngest winner ever at age 16, even after some 41 years of the festival. She was chaperoned by one of the top chaperons of her day, Ms Betty Hull and gave the village of Cotton Ground its second consecutive victory, as her fellow villager, Miss Eloise Sargeant had won the year before, in 1976.
The program also included prayer by Canon Flemming; eulogy by Anelda Sargeant –Doway; tributes by the Girl Guides; Eardley Nisbett; Patricia Fair-weather (whose message was read on her behalf); scripture lessons by Eardley Nisbett; Anthony Webbe and by the tearful son of the deceased, Ajamu Parry, who thanked everyone for their kind assistance during this difficult time.
The intercessory prayer was done by former classmate, Gloria Caines and the sermon of the day was delivered by childhood friend of the late Nevisian beauty, Pastor Cecele Browne.
Pastor Browne spoke on the caption “Matters of the heart’ and noted that even though her late friend died mainly because of an affected heart and other complications, she was happy to report that she had received ‘a heart transformation’ by giving her heart to God and she and her husband had the privilege to baptize her.
She beseeched her hearers to seek a similar heart transformation, before it was eternally too late.
Based on the general sentiments proffered during and after the memorial service, Jillian France James, was a sweet, beautiful individual—inside and out.