Sir Philip Greaves performed his last official duty today as Acting Governor General and it was a most pleasant one.
He journeyed to St Lucy this morning to take part in the 100th birthday celebrations for Mildred Cumberbatch, who was pleased to have the outgoing Queen’s representative in company.
As Sir Philip presented her with a basket of flowers, the lively centenarian replied: “The flowers are just like how I was as a young girl.”
Sir Philip also presented her with two birthday cards – one which was sent by Her Majesty the Queen and another which he presented on his own behalf.
However, it was the presentation of the wine, that seemed to mostly lift Cumberbatch’s spirits until she realized that the beverage was non-acholic.
Her smile re-appeared and quickly turned to laughter that could be heard from across the room when she received a kiss on the cheek from Sir Philip, who also joined Cumberbatch and members of her extended family in singing the Happy Birthday song.
Dressed in a pink skirt suit and a white hat, she readily entertained members of her extended family with her wit and charm. Cumberbatch, who was born on January 8, 1918, is still vocal, still has her sight, and is of sound mind.
The former cane cutter informed that she did “some of everything except steal”.
She also admitted to having a hearty appetite which she saw as necessary for one who performed hard tasks, such as cutting cane.
Her daughter Belinda Lawrence, at whose Ataraxia Drive, Friendly Hall Development, St Lucy home the celebration took place, said that her mother, who had six children – five girls and one son – lives with her but previously resided in St Peter.
She also said the centenarian’s only challenge was reading fine print, which was confirmed in Cumberbatch’s response to the Governor General when asked he asked her if she was still able to read.
The centenarian replied: “If you have something to read I would read it”.
She also said that her longevity was due to the grace of God.
“ The grace of God is what keeping me. God is so wonderful,” she said.
The devoted Christian, who still attends church regularly, also suggested that God’s love could not be hidden.
“You have to let it pour out,” she advised, while also urging today’s youth to live honest and upright lives.
“If you are ashamed to walk around, you are not living right,” she said, adding that Barbadians in general need to “get up and help themselves”.