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Centenarian reaps the fruits of good living

Miriam Ada Dickenson celebrated her 100th birthday in style with four generations of her family at her Somerset home.

Guests at the December 30 birthday party included John Rankin, the Governor, who said it was “my privilege to be able to present the birthday message from Her Majesty The Queen to Mrs Dickenson and to meet her with her family and friends”.

Mr Rankin added: “I always find there is much to learn from the island's senior citizens based on their life experience and wisdom.”

The Governor joined around 90 neighbours, friends and family at the celebration.

The veteran teacher, the widow of the Right Reverend Norris Dickenson, recommended eating fruit and drinking plenty of water for a long life.

Mrs Dickenson taught for 40 years at the Huntley School in Somerset, West End Primary and later Francis Patton Primary.

She watched generations of children grow, also served as a pastor and still attends Beulah Tabernacle Church.

Mrs Dickenson hosted the party in the house where she grew up on Bob's Valley Lane and to which she returned under her family's care at the age of 95.

The celebration also marked an anniversary, since she married Bishop Dickenson, a widower she met through the Beulah Tabernacle, on her 54th birthday in 1971.

Bishop Dickenson was the founding pastor of Warwick Holiness Church, and the couple lived at his Shelly Bay home for 41 years until his death in 2012 at the age of 100.

Mrs Dickenson spent her later years at the family home in Somerset with her older sister Hope Bascome, also a teacher, who died aged 101 in 2013.

Niece Paula Tucker said Mrs Dickenson was another “trailblazer” as a teacher. She added: “We had a lovely party for her.”

Ms Dickenson retired from teaching in 1976 and devoted herself to the church, although she continued to teach in prisons.

She and her husband founded the Faith Tabernacle in Dockyard and the Gospel Tabernacle near their home in Shelly Bay, where she pastored for many years.

The couple also travelled on mission work to Liberia three times. Ms Tucker said the piano was another passion and that Mrs Dickenson would volunteer to play for hospital patients, as well as at home.

Last week, Mrs Dickenson played a selection of Christmas carols for Kim Wilson, who is the area MP.

Ms Tucker, her niece Debora Bascome and nephew Glenn Bascome look after Mrs Dickenson.

Ms Wilson said: “This is an example of how a family's loving care and a familiar community setting can make all the difference for a senior.

“Family members caring for a loved one at home makes that person feel cherished and valued.

“Happy birthday, Mrs Dickenson. You're an inspiration to us all.”

Golden oldie: Miriam Dickenson knocks out a tune in the company of health minister Kim Wilson and family members (Photograph by Stephen Raynor/Department of Communications)

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Published January 03, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated January 03, 2018 at 1:03 pm)

Centenarian reaps the fruits of good living

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