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Double century for Bermuda

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Many this past week, from near and far, have been engrossed in celebration of the 100th birthdays of two of Bermuda's most notable citizens, Mrs Doris Corbin, MBE, of Cemetery Lane, Pembroke and Miss Margaret Rowena Hope Bascome of Bob's Valley, Somerset.<br>These two God-fearing ladies, though not blood relatives, are nonetheless kindred spirits, acquaintance, public school teachers, most outstanding leaders in their respective churches and brilliant examples of the renderings of good clean, busy, healthy lifestyles. Quick-witted, and despite their advanced ages, they are in full possession of all their faculties, Miss Bascome being unable to read without the aid of glasses. <br>Those characteristics were borne out by relatives and friends paying tribute at rounds of private, semi-private and public events for the honouree, to which we were privileged to attend and capture some of the photos seen here. Many more pictures and a video along with a feature by Jonathan Bell can be viewed on line at <a href="http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111102/NEWS/711029918" target="_blank">http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111102/NEWS/711029918</a> and <a href="http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111028/NEWS/710289997" target="_blank">http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111028/NEWS/710289997</a>

Hope Bascome

The Rev Miss Hope Bascome showed her great stamina at three separate events celebrating her 100th birthday.

At each she was presented with enough flowers, natural and verbal, to last her another lifetime. And she revealed her wit, good sense of humour and body language when different tunes of “Happy Birthday” were sung in her honour. When it came to wishing her many more happy years, she gestured smilingly, indicating that after a century here, she was ready for her heavenly rewards.

Beulah Tabernacle honoured her at a special service on Sunday afternoon conducted by Bishop Stephen Jones. On Monday morning, Miss Bascome was honoured at the 84th Anniversary Founders' Day Assembly of Sandys Secondary Middle School. She was saluted as one of only two surviving Sandys first-day students in 1927.

To highlight the event, Sandys laid on a horse and carriage to drive Miss Bascome from her nearby home, to the school, with the entire Sandys student body and staff complemented by students from West End School, where she taught for many years, lining the route as a 400-strong guard of honour.

Master of Ceremonies at the Sandys ceremony was Miss Bascome's nephew, Dr E Glen Bascome. A great-nephew, Dr. Jenson Bascome, and a great, great niece Jordan Bascome, the school's head girl, gave highlights of the honoree's career; and presentations were made to her by Tara and Rodae Bascome, great, great nieces who are students.

On Monday night at St. James Church Hall, the family laid on a 'real' knife, fork and china birthday party, with nieces and nephews g serving the three-course turkey and cassava pie dinner.

Hope was the eldest of three children of Dentist and Mrs Disney Bascome. Her siblings were sister Miriam, who is six years her junior and who was closely at her side throughout the celebration; and Edgbert, a BMA soldier who is deceased. The family was distinguished by the fact that Dentist Bascome qualified for his doctorate in the late 1800s, at a time when the number of black professional in Bermuda could be counted on one hand.

Noted for her devout faith, she was one of the early so- called Holy Rollers of Beulah Tabernacle on Scott's Hill Road, having been converted at age 15. She grew into many leadership positions in the church, including Sunday School Superintendent; choir director and as associate pastor.

Also in the United Holy Church, to which Beulah is affiliated, she served 20 years as Secretary, 20 years, and for a similar period as District President of the District's Missionary Department.

Doris Corbin

One of the tributes to Doris Corbin was from the Queen, whom she personally met in 1983 when she went to Buckingham Palace to be given the decoration of the MBE Mrs Corbin was awarded for community service.

Premier, Paula Cox called Mrs Corbin “a national treasure” in expressing congratulations, best wishes and gratitude on behalf of the government and people of Bermuda. She added: “We appreciate your 40 years of service to Bermuda's public school system. We also think of your unwavering commitment to your Church and community.

“You have set a high bar for us all. Public service is said to be the rent we pay for life. Clearly you have paid a very high rent. Specifically you have served wherever needed and have been a good and faithful service.

“You have been Master of Music at St. Paul's AME Church, the Girl Guides of Bermuda, the Berkeley Institute Educational Society and the Business and Professional Women's Association… Congratulations and may God continue to bless you.”

At each event Mrs. Corbin was escorted by her sons Canterbury, with whom she resides on Cemetery Lane, and George, who makes his home in New York. A widow, her husband Clarence, a Bermuda champion tennis player and noted chorister, died last year. They were married in 1941. Born and raised on Glebe Road, North Shore, Pembroke, Mrs Corbin was a daughter of William and Dorcas Heyligher. Her mother died when Doris was aged two.

Hope Bascome
Doris Corbin

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Published November 05, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated November 05, 2011 at 9:27 am)

Double century for Bermuda

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