Charlestown-Nevis- He may have originally been an unwilling participant, but as he sat there, in a chair which was especially bought for the occasion, George Wilkinson, seemed to glow in the moment and his radiant smile, lit up the room.
It was Thursday the 27th of July and the distinguished Nevisian son, was celebrating a landmark milestone-his 100th birthday.
Apparently, as he is never one for the flare and ceremony, Wilkinson did not want to have any grand celebrations for the occasion.
Howver, it was the persuasive powers of Mrs. Jacqueline Brand and to a lesser extent, her husband Mr. Franklyn Brand, who finally got him to make up his mind and get dressed for the occasion.
A relatively brief ceremony was held at the St. Paul’s Anglican conference room, which was ably chaired by Supervisor of the seniors’ division, Mrs. Garcia Hendrickson.
In her opening remarks, she congratulated Mr. Wilkinson on attaining the significant age and made reference to his still ‘youthful look.’
The preliminary items included an inspirational prayer by Pastor Denzil Roberts; a scripture reading by Ms. Marjorie Morton and the singing of the song ‘Great is thy faithfulness,’ by all gathered.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, also came ‘bearing gifts.’
He saluted the celebrant on achieving the milestone and thanked him for his contribution to the Nevisian public and beyond. He also read a profile of him, which was written by a family member.
He then presented a fruit basket; a plaque and a gift voucher. He explained that it was a collaborative effort between his Ministry and the City Drugstore.
Leader of the opposition in the Nevis island Assembly, Hon. Joseph Parry, indicated that he had met Mr. Wilkinson sometime after he had returned from the UK and found him to be a pleasant man and a baker of wonderful cakes. He stopped short of giving his opinion as to what is assisting so many persons with the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis but was confident in the fact that God’s will would have been done in his life.
Hon. Senator Wendy Phipps, along with her long serving colleague, Ms. Anne Wigley, also made a presentation to Mr. Wilkinson.
‘These seniors would have done their bit to contribute to the development of Nevis and St.Kitts. She said.
Premier Vance Amory in making his brief remarks, was quick to point out that Mr. Wilkinson’s achievement, actually made him the 18th centenarian in the federation of St.Kitts and Nevis.
Mr. Spencer Howell, one of his old buddies, also spoke in glowing terms of the many contributions that the celebrant had made to the community and gave an insight as to his many moods and some of his sayings.
One such saying was: “When ah dead just take me straight to the cemetery.’
A medley of songs was then delivered by Pastor Simeon Prentice and his wife Dahlia.
This was followed by a glowing tribute by grandson, Eustace Jr.
There was a toast for the ‘birthday boy’ and then the man of the hour took his fifteen minutes.
For one moment, it appeared as if the former Lay preacher, was delivering a sermon.
He thanked his son and grandson; Mr. and Mrs. Brand and the many persons who would have helped him.
He however, gave all of the praise and honour to Almighty God.
The chorus ‘Your grace and mercy,’ was then sung by all present and this was followed by the birthday song, which also featured a longtime friend of Mr. Wilkinson, Bertram Roach, on mouth organ.
Mrs. Jacqueline Brand delivered the eloquent vote of thanks, before the specially invited guests, who were all handpicked by the celebrant, shared in a sumptuous luncheon.