Maud Campbell-Richards was interactive and alert when relatives and friends gathered under a tent last Saturday (September 1) to celebrate her 105th birthday, which passed on August 13.
The centenarian sang with the group, requested the song ‘Jesus Gone To Prepare A Mansion For Me’, and showed other signs of reception to the glowing tributes that rained down on her.
“I give God the thanks and praise; I won’t cease from praising my God,” she told THE BEACON at her home in Roadside, located at the foot of Mount Rosser in Ewarton, St Catherine.
Campbell-Richards attributed her relatively long life to the the ‘mercy’ of her maker. “He never left me; he keeps me,” she proclaimed.
Asked how she would like to be remembered, she emphatically said: “Praising; praising; praising.”
Campbell-Richards indeed sent up a lot of praises while she sat in an armchair at her party.
Moderator of the proceedings, Jacquline Crole, noted that praising The Lord is nothing new to the centenarian, who now is a shut-in.
She was among founding members of the Ewarton Gospel Hall, which started in the 1940s, Crole said.
She added: “We owe a debt of gratitude to Sister Maud and those who persevered and built that church from the trashy mini stage to the wonderful edifice that we have down there now.”
Barbara Richards, in the meantime, told the gathering she is happy to know her mother-in-law, Campbell-Richards, whom she often visits.
“At her age, her memory is very very very good,” the daughter-in-law further said, echoing a sentiment shared by others who gave tributes.
Another popular sentiment is that Campbell-Richards was kind to generations of people and to the chickens she raised.
“Her kindness is very exceptional; that is one of her greatest attributes,” said Patrice Ennis, who grew up in the community where her great-grandmother Campbell-Richards lives.
Meanwhile, Maxine Taylor, who lives in the United States, said her grandmother Campbell-Richards ‘loves all children – not just hers’.
Christopher Taylor, one of the island’s most celebrated and promising young sprinters, recalled his great-grandmother Campbell-Richards saving him from a spanking.
He further told THE BEACON: “My great-grandmother still wanted to wash for herself when she was about 98; they had to beg her not to do it.”
Campbell-Richards spent much of her professional years breaking stones, which were used to build roads.
She has six children, all carrying the ‘Richards’ surname. They are Marjorie, Elliott, Aurther, Derrick, Anthony, and Hazel who currently is Campbell-Richards’ caregiver.
The centenarian, who was married to the late Nathan Richards, also has 25 grandchildren, 58 great-grand, and 15 great-great grand children.
Here are some of the moments captured during the belated birthday party:
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