Eustace Seymour Layne was overwhelmed and emotional as he celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday in presence of the Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave.
The alert centenarian is the first of four from Parish Land, Christ Church, who are due to reach the coveted milestone this year.
Layne was overcome by tears today, as he was surrounded by family and friends on his special day.
The talented musician who played the banjo and guitar in his heyday referred to his family of 12 children and 21 grandchildren as “music kings”, with his oldest surviving son, Merlan Yarde, explaining that they had inherited many of their father’s skills.
“He specialized in the guitar. I saw daddy play it from behind his back already and he would play on weekends. He would collect a team of men, he would come home and practice and he would go throughout the district right from Parish Land . . . to Sayers Court and he would play until he returned,” the 70–year–old Yarde said.
Besides his passion for music, Layne also loved to cook and was always willing to share his food with anyone that passed by his home.
“You could be sure you’re not leaving there hungry, you’re going to get a dish of food,” Yarde said.
He said while Layne had his ways, he was a good father.
Four of his six surviving children were present for today’s celebration. The other two reside overseas.
Layne’s youngest son, 32–year–old David Bynoe, said his father was a strong believer in discipline and felt that children should speak when spoken to.
“He was extremely strict; [in fact] strict would be an understatement,” Bynoe said.
“He was someone that you wouldn’t want even one lash [from]. He had something called a donkey belt . . . which is a very huge belt and one lash from that [and] it was all over,” he recalled.
An agronomist by profession, Bynoe said his father instilled a love of agriculture in him from a young age.
He also described his father as very independent, noting that up to the age of 96, he was cooking, travelling, shopping, and riding around on a bike.
The former contract digger, who worked for Government agencies such as the Barbados Investment and Development Cooperation and the National Sports Council, was also big on education.
“He inspired me to really love books . . . he would have invested in some books that really initiated my love for books, he was
Referring to his father affectionately as “Braff”, an emotional Lemuel Chase said
while he did not have a close relationship with him from young, they have developed
a strong bond.
“Braff was always there for me . . . and I pledged to myself and to God that as long as I live and as long as he lives I would always be there for him,” Chase said.