ANGUILLIAN CENTENARIAN GIVEN SPECIAL SERVICE

anguillian
By anguillian September 6, 2013 09:22

ANGUILLIAN CENTENARIAN GIVEN SPECIAL SERVICE

 

Mrs Connor with members of her Family and Church Community

Mrs Connor with members of her Family and Church Community

Mrs Evalie Bradley presenting Bouquet of Flowers to Mrs Connor

Mrs Evalie Bradley presenting Bouquet of Flowers to Mrs Connor

Mrs Connor's Great Grandchildren in Song

Mrs Connor’s Great Grandchildren in Song

Members of the Congregation

Members of the Congregation

The Anguillian community has paid special tribute and commendation to Mrs Ursilla Vanita Levons Connor (Na) of South Hill, who has become Anguilla’s latest and only female centenarian alive.

Mrs Connor’s 100 Birthday on Thursday, August 29, came three days following the 103rd Birthday of Anguilla’s oldest male national, Mr Charlie Gumbs of The Quarter on August 26. The considerably active and very pleasant grand old lady was surrounded on her much-celebrated birthday by members of her many close-knit family and a large number of friends and acquaintances from various parts of the island. She has family connections in both Anguilla and St. Martin/St. Maarten.

Born in South Valley, she was adopted at the age of one year and taken to South Hill where she grew up and eventually lived. Sitting under her spreading breadfruit tree, on the day of her birthday, Mrs Connor said, in a strong voice and with an occasional smile, that the recipe for her long life had been healthy eating and hard work. She stated that in her earlier years she had undertaken to cultivate varied agricultural crops which provided good sources of food and nutrition for her and her children.

A special service in her honour was held on Saturday, August 31, at her home church – the Bethel Methodist Chapel – where she had been an active member for many years.

Hulio (Ponto) Carty Jr., one of her grandsons, told the congregation that his grandmother resided and worked for a time in Guadeloupe and later returned to Anguilla where she married her husband, the late Eric Connor. That union produced four children: Gerard, Lynette, Aubrey, and Jessica. There were also three other children whom Mrs Connor adopted: Cleveland Hoftyzer, Paula and Gene Gumbs.

“Mrs Connor has a love for the ground and that is where her livelihood was generated,” grandson Carty stated. “The planting of acres of land with peas, corn, potatoes, yams and anything else edible was done by her loving fingers. Na planted anything worth planting and whatever she put in the earth always grew.” Even as he spoke, there was still some semblance of agricultural activity by his grandmother at her home: a patch of herbs at the side of one of the family’s homes.

Mrs Ursilla Connor

Mrs Ursilla Connor

There was a part of Hulio’s account of the life of his grandmother which should not be overlooked. It is this: “Ursilla loves her God and her church. She was baptised an Anglican, but confirmed as a Methodist at Bethel Church. She became a founding member of the Women League in 1946. She had some glorious times; enjoyed harmonious love and fellowship in concerts, tea parties and fairs. Most of all she enjoyed visiting members, singing and praying with them. Na was also a Class Leader and her members would always go to her with anything and received spiritual and social advice. Her home was always opened to the church especially at Synod time, hosting up to five persons…Many young people have much respect for her.”

In recognition of her contribution and faithfulness to Bethel Church, both Rev Joseph Lloyd and Rev Dr Wycherley Gumbs took the opportunity to offer congratulatory messages to her on her 100 birthday, and to thank her for her long service in the ministry of the church. Mrs Evalie Bradley, a Local Preacher, presented her with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the church and the Circuit.

Mrs Connor with Governor Christina Scott at the commencement of the service

Mrs Connor with Governor Christina Scott at the commencement of the service

The sermon was delivered by Rev Dunstan Richardson, the outgoing Circuit Superintendent. “To you and your family, we ascribe all praise, glory and thanksgiving to Almighty God who has brought you thus far,” he told Mrs Connor. He was pleased to have served as her Pastor for the past three years and was delighted to be sharing in the celebration of her One Hundredth Birthday.

The service was attended by a large number of persons, among them being Her Excellency, Governor Christina Scott. The Governor is expected to present a special Birthday Greeting Card to Mrs Connor from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second in due course. It is understood that the card is on its way to Anguilla.

After the service the large crowd was entertained at the JC Recreational Centre in South Hill.

anguillian
By anguillian September 6, 2013 09:22

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