WEST END RESIDENTS GRATEFUL TO LATE MIDWIFE
Residents of the West End and Long Bay community have welcomed the renaming of the Public Health Clinic there in honour of the late Agnes Agatha Richardson who, without any formal training, served as the district’s Midwife in earlier years and “never lost a case”.
The now Agnes Agatha Richardson Clinic was officially given its new name on Saturday, February 25, at a ceremony attended by family members, residents, officials of the Health Authority of Anguilla and the Government.
Chairman of the Health Authority, Mr. Fritz Smith, heaped praise on the late Midwife, noting that his grandmother, the late Nurse Margaret Fleming of Mount Fortune, also served as an untrained Midwife for a considerable part of her lifetime.
“I think it is always important to step back to the past and recognise those who have contributed to Anguilla,” he said. “I am told that Mrs. Richardson was born in 1900 and at age 25 she was a Midwife. I don’t know how that happened but I am a grandson of a Midwife who was born in 1905. I remember back in her day she would get a call from someone, on a bicycle, saying a person was ready to give birth. She would take up her blue bag and go to do the delivery.
“To see where we have come today to handle deliveries, and the technologies involved, we really have to applaud persons like Mrs. Agnes Richardson who never lost a case. This renaming ceremony of the clinic is really for her proud family to let them know that we truly appreciate her outstanding work in those early days.”
She died seventeen years ago in January 1999, just three months short of her 100th birthday, disappointing family members and other persons who were planning a big celebration for her.
Mr. Cardigan Connor, Elected Representative for the West End/Long Bay constituency, stated that his predecessor, the late Albert Hughes, had been trying to have the clinic renamed after Mrs. Richardson – and had charged him to carry forward the proposal. Mr. Connor was pleased that he had been able to fulfil that request which was pushed forward in Executive Council by Mr. Evan McNiel Rogers, the Minister of Health and Social Development.
Mr. Connor continued: “Agnes was more than a Nurse. She was a humanitarian. She was someone who was there for a woman who, back then, had to stay in bed for nine days after having given birth. She would look after the rest of the children – cooking and washing their clothes – leaving her own family at home. I am saying that Agnes Richardson was more like a Mother Theresa. She was very close to me, obviously, because she was my grandmother’s sister. I remember when I used to have a tummy ache she should would come over, put her hand on my stomach, and I felt better. It is something difficult to explain unless it happened to you. I am really proud of this ceremony and what it means for her family as well.”
Two of her grandchildren, Frederick Richardson (King Kinayah) and Linda Francillette Richardson, spoke on behalf of the family. They expressed appreciation for the honour bestowed on their grandmother and thanked all in attendance for their support and presence.