Barbados’ newest centenarian Doris Payne loved to dress up and was a “glamour girl” in her youth, so it was no surprise when she was the centre of attention at the Geriatric Hospital in Beckles Road, St Michael yesterday.
Aunt Doris, as she is affectionately called, was happy to be surrounded by friends, family and nurses this morning when she received a visit from Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave who celebrated the milestone with her.
Sir Elliott engaged her in conversation as he presented the customary gift and a letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which Payne took her time and read.
The retired Queen Elizabeth Hospital worker had no children of her own, but was a mother to her nephews and nieces whom she loved dearly.
One of those nieces, Janelle Aymes, said Payne was a very strict woman in her younger days and had a love for dressing nicely.
“I remember every year she would go and shop for me and dress up, because I had to be at the exhibitions every year. Wherever she [went] she would take me. She was a very strict person….If you want lashes she would share lashes,” she recalled.
Payne still enjoys her food and although she does not have a favourite dish, Aymes said her aunt loved cou-cou.
Another niece, Natalee Harrigan, became emotional and broke down in tears while paying tribute to Payne.
“My grandmother passed away when it was four, so it was good to have my aunt there that I can remember her, because I can barely remember my grandmother. She was always known to be a generous person; always giving,” Harrigan said.
“You always hear a lot of stories that people just make it to 100 [and] they don’t make it past [that age], so I’m hoping that this celebration continues this year and next year.”
Harrigan also shared her memories of Payne as a disciplinarian, joking that she her brother would “hide the whip” when they spent summers with her.
Payne was also an avid church goer, faithfully attending the St Ambrose Anglican Church.