‘Grans’ reaches milestone
Centenarian Violet Etheline Gilkes celebrated her birthday in grand style today.
The lady of the hour toasted champagne with Governor General Dame Sandra Mason and friends and family on the grounds of Mayfields House, St George.
Her grandson Ronnie Roberts gave a speech during the celebrations, telling the tale of an industrious, kind-hearted Gilkes, when she was in her prime.
Grans, as she is affectionately called by her grand and great-grandchildren, was born in 1918 in Bayfield, St Philip.
Her mother died when she was a young girl she was raised by Jane Greaves, a family friend and then by her uncle.
After completing her education at the St Mark’s Primary school, Grans became a domestic worker employed by Dacosta and Mussons Ltd.
She also had an entrepreneurial drive as she raised layers, broilers and goats to earn extra income, and sold limes to The Crane and Sam Lords Castle hotels.
Roberts said she loved family and sent to school a number of children in her community.
He added that she was also strict when it came to time and liked things to be done in an orderly fashion.
Gilkes, who outlived her first and second husbands, has six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Her only child, Glenfield Roberts, passed away recently at age 68.
Apart from living in Bayfield, she lived in Bel Air, from that same parish, and in Brittons Hill, St Michael.
Ian Roberts, another grandson who spends most of his holidays with Gilkes at the St Judes Nursing home, Holders Hill, St James, said her favourite dish was pudding and souse.
He said he felt her warmth and her active lifestyle contributed to her long life without ailments. (SB)