Creator of crafted artwork marks 100th
Barbados’ latest centenarian Loleta Virginia Worrell has been lauded for her community work and positive outlook on life by family, friends and church members during her birthday celebrations yesterday morning.
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason was also on hand to share the moment with Worrell, who became the fourth centenarian to hail from the small village of The Whim, St Peter.
Worrell, a former seamstress and long-standing Sunday school teacher at the Whim Wesleyan Holiness Church, was known for her beautifully crafted artwork made from pieces of material left over from the household covers she made.
Founder of Leacock’s Private School in Farm Road, St Peter, Sybil Leacock, who also lives in The Whim, described Worrell, who had no children of her own, as a loving woman who was always ready and willing to take care of the children in the village.
“I was fatherless more or less; my mother was a domestic servant and my grandmother was of good age; so she usedto help take care of me for a long time. We grew up very close and when I came here today she shouted me,” said Leacock, who will be 90 later this year and still runs her school.
“She was like a big sister to me and we lived so close that if she opened her window, she could have handedanything to me.”
Leacock said Worrell did not like to waste any scrap materials and used to make household necessities out of “skrids”.
“She used to make bedsheets, couch and ottoman covers and the little pieces that were left, she used to make skrid mats. She also used to make cut-outs from hessian [crocus] bags and decorate them with the skrids and put them on the centre table or floor.”
Worrell was a former shop assistant at the now defunct Shamrock Supermarket in Speightstown, St Peter.
She was married to Arleigh before he passed on in July 2010, a month shy of their 60th wedding anniversary.
Her niece 66-year-old Sandra Waterman said that Worrell, whose memory was still sharp, sewed until she wasin her late 90s.
Nurse Phyllis Britton, who now takes care of Worrellat St Jude’s Nursing Home in Holders Hill, St James, said her appetite was still hearty and she had no major ailments.
She added that she ate anything prepared for her, with her favourite dish being cou-cou.
Worrell was also described as one “full of life and entertaining once you engaged her in conversation”.
The Governor General brought her a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champagne and two gift cards – one on behalf of the Queen of England andone from her.
Dame Sandra said it was always a pleasure to meet the island’s centenarians, something she enjoyed when she acted as Governor General in 2012.
Later in the evening, Worrell was treated to a special service at the home from members of her church, led by pastor Aubrey Oneale, where tributes and a variety of presentations were made. Worrell told her church family she was “happy to reach 100”. (SB)