Centenarian Louise Constance McCollin today testified that her longevity was as a result of her trust in God.
“Look what the Lord has done for me. My Lord brought me to 100 years old. Oh I give him thanks and I give him praise. I never thought that I would have reached 100 years old and in all my aches and pains he never leave me, he is continuously with me,” McCollin said at a morning thanksgiving service held at her Bushy Park home.
The island’s newest centenarian was in high spirits as she celebrated her milestone, singing and dancing in her chair to her favourite hymns surrounded by her family, friends and members of the Stroude Land Christian Mission, including Reverend Joan Hope.
McCollin revealed that she accepted Christ as her Saviour at the ripe age of 67 and “he never leave me yet”.
“The road was rough but I trying to make heaven my home. I fought the fight, I ran the race and my life is in Christ hands. When he is ready for me I will be ready to go long. He is too sweet to me, I love my Lord,” she declared, adding, “he soon gone call me home”.
“I tell you I get a hundred, you think I could live for another hundred?”
During her remarks which evoked moments of laughter, McCollin turned to another elder, Claris Brathwaite, who is 96 years old, and said: “I ain’t know I could get a 100 years old, you may get there too”.
Her advice to those celebrating with her was to “keep trusting and believing. Keep a clean hand and a pure heart and praise thee Oh God”.
Among those taking part in the celebration were two of her three children — her son Rupert Forde, who flew in from New York for the event and her oldest daughter, Marjorie Holder, with whom she lives. Her second child Lerris Concliffe is deceased.
An emotional Forde was elated that his mother reached the cherished milestone.
“It’s beautiful! It’s very emotional for me because I lost my father at the age of 46 in 1958 and to have my mother here at 100 is beautiful . . . and I am so happy for her. I don’t know how much further she will go, but whatever we get we will take it,” Forde told the media today.
Forde, who grew up in Congo Road, St Philip, described his mother as a hard worker and a disciplinarian.
“She worked in the field [doing] farming work. That’s all I knew her to do. That’s how she made her living and that is how she raised her three kids . . . . She had a quick hand, a good aim, she was strict . . . and she deserves to be a hundred,” he said.
His 82-year-old sister Marjorie said her mother “didn’t use to spare the rod”. She also said despite suffering with diabetes and arthritis and experiencing problems with her hearing, the centenarian still has “a hearty appetite”.
“She likes Cou Cou, rice and cooked biscuits,” the daughter said.
Church member Mary Farley also paid tribute to McCollin, describing her as a contented person who loves to sing and dance.
“When she attended church, as soon as she reached the door, she would dance her way to her seat to the beat and the rhythm of the music. Sister McCollin is a happy and contented person. She always has a joke or story to share to make you laugh,” Farley said.
The matriarch, who has 12 living grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren, received a number of gift baskets, including one from the National Committee on Aging which is a department within the Ministry of Social Care.
“We have to appreciate persons of this calibre,” Wingrove Bayne, who delivered the gift, said.
“At the National Committee on Aging we are preparing a hall of fame. It will be launched at Easter, at the Museum, where you will have all the names and pictures of centenarians in Barbados both alive and departed,” Bayne disclosed.]]>