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Seniors’ residence given $10,000 donation

Supporting seniors: Reverend Nicholas Tweed, left, of St Paul AME Church, with government MP Zane DeSilva; Donna-Lee Chandler-Smith, deputy chair of the Matilda Smith Williams board; Mr DeSilva's daughter, Zara Harper, and Derrick Burgess, Deputy Speaker and seniors’ advocate (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

A $10,000 donation honouring the memory of trade union champion and former government senator LaVerne Furbert has been made to a seniors’ home in Devonshire.

Zane DeSilva, a Progressive Labour Party MP, made the contribution to the Matilda Smith Williams Seniors’ Residence on behalf of his family, jointly with his business Island Construction.

Mr DeSilva said Ms Furbert, who died in 2021, was “a staunch supporter” of the home on Kent Avenue, Paget, which is subsidised by the island’s African Methodist Episcopal Church.

“Sister LaVerne was the one who told me, you know the history of Matilda Smith Williams – let’s see what we can do there,” Mr DeSilva said.

“Lord bless us, Lord keep us strong, we will be here every Christmas on behalf of LaVerne.

“She is greatly missed and she was a staunch defender of the people here.”

Mr DeSilva added: “I know some of the rest homes in this country receive a lot of funding – this is one of those that does not.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage not only people but businesses to make donations to this particular seniors’ home. They struggle financially and I would like to see more donors.”

The home was opened in 1963 with the backing of St Paul AME Church, and the donation was attended by the Reverend Nicholas Tweed on behalf of the church.

“It began as a missionary project by St Paul AME,” he said. “It blossomed into what it is now and has been consistently supported by the church.”

Donna-Lee Chandler-Smith, deputy chair of the Matilda Smith Williams board, was on hand to accept the donation.

They were joined by Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker and an advocate for seniors.

“Rest homes are underfunded throughout Bermuda,” Mr Burgess said. “We cannot just leave funding to the churches and to donors. The responsibility to seniors who cannot afford care goes to all of us.

“Government gives us a grant but the population of those going 65 increases every year. We appreciate what we get but certainly that has to be increased substantially.”

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Published December 27, 2022 at 3:30 pm (Updated December 30, 2022 at 4:55 pm)

Seniors’ residence given $10,000 donation

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