Gingerland-Nevis—Her children went out of their way to honour her in a big way. It was a closely guarded secret and even though Miss Fransica Brookes suspected that something was up, nobody made her any wiser.
So on Sunday 17th January, when she was specially escorted to the Gingerland Wesleyan Holiness church, located at Buck’s Hill, even though she knew that it was her 80th birthday, she thought that she was just going to a regular church service.
Little did she know that her children, grand children; friends and church family, had something different in store for her.
The church service was centered around the life and times of this wonderful christian woman, who had served her community well.
Her daughter Meredith, in reading her profile, noted that she got married at the tender age of 16 and bore 9 children, one of whom died at only 6 weeks of age, but the other 8 are still alive today. Most of them were present at the special service of celebration along with her 14 grand children and 8 great grand children.
She worked hard to make a living to support her family and became a self taught chef and sold delicacies to her community members such as tarts; cakes; fudge; coconut cakes; bread; puddings; peppermints; ice blocks and many more.
She also held the keys for the nearby Brown Pasture Primary school and her home became a virtual Pharmacy and Health Center for students and teachers alike.
She was also one of the few villagers with a stand pipe and a television set and both serviced her fellow villagers at no cost.
She became a christian at an early age and was an active choir member and Sunday school teacher up until she fell seriously ill in 2007.
Her children and grand children presented her with 8 roses, each representing 10 years of her life.
Also on hand to make a special presentation, was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, who presented a fruit basket and a plaque to the celebrant, on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development, in collaboration with the City Drug Store.
Mr. Glasgow in making his presentation stated:
‘Our duty and responsibility is to look after our seniors and show appreciation for the contribution they have made to the development of the country.’
Rev Salome James also spoke of her long standing relationship with the celebrant and saluted her as a woman of God.
Miss Brookes for her part shouted ‘Alleluia—thank you Jesus.’ She thanked God for her existence and she expressed her appreciation for the surprise that she received in church on her special day. She stated that her children had kept her in the dark but that she certainly enjoyed it.
She thanked them for making her feel really special and for giving her ‘’flowers while I am yet alive.’
Also giving words of commendation was Rev Cicely Browne, the Pastor of the celebrant.