Barbados’ newest centenarian, Hilda Eugene Boyce, is a resident of the St Lucy District Hospital.
She celebrated her 100th milestone today with a visit from Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, family, and friends, who gathered at the hospital to mark the special occasion.
Boyce’s friend, centenarian Gileon Carrington was also present to wish her a happy birthday. Carrington, who was up on his feet and standing strong, engaged Dame Sandra in a brief conversation.
The centenarian’s only child, 79-year-old Nathanial Griffith, lives overseas and was unable to travel home to celebrate the milestone with her. Nevertheless, her daughter-in-law, Maryline Griffith, was present to fill that gap. Griffith described her mother-in-law as a caring lady.
“She is always giving. If you don’t have, she would look after you. She is a really caring person. She is a good cook. I love her food. She used to cook cou cou and ground provisions. Her husband was a fisherman so at times she cooked fish,” Griffith said.
Boyce, who was unable to carry on a conversation with members of the media, is slightly visually and hearing impaired. However, the centenarian, who worked as a labourer and domestic worker, continued to smile with Dame Sandra throughout the visit.
The nurses at the hospital said it was a joy to care for Boyce who they described as peaceful and contented.
Reuben Rollock, a family friend who spent most of his childhood days with Boyce’s son, said the elderly lady was well loved and respected in her Crab Hill, St Lucy community.
“He [Boyce’s son] was unable to come because of medical issues. But I called him last night, and we had a discussion. But it is not a one-off thing that I see her. I come here very often to donate things so I see her quite often. She is kind in her heart and she is a good woman. We hope that she lives much longer,” Rollock said.
Retired priest of St Clement’s and St Swithun’s Anglican churches Keith Griffith opened the Governor General’s visit with a prayer and said he admired Boyce’s love and appreciation for God as he got to know her over the years.
Boyce has three grandchildren, seven great-grands and three great-great grands. (AH)