Louise Franks, 107, and Premier celebrate their shared birthday at KEMH
The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s oldest patient celebrated her 107th birthday with a drive-by event and a visit from the Premier yesterday – who revealed he was celebrating his own birthday as well.
David Burt gave flowers and a birthday card to Louise Franks yesterday during her celebration at the hospital.
Mr Burt, who turned 42, said: “I’ve seen Ms Franks on our birthday before, I’m just happy to continue the tradition and say ’happy birthday’ to a remarkable 107-year-old resident.”
Ms Franks, who has spent 12 years in the KEMH long-term care unit, sat under a balloon arch outside the hospital as cars drove past and occupants wished her a happy birthday.
She was joined by Michael Richmond, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hospitals Board, as well as a group of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Diarra Franks, 22, Ms Franks’ great-grand daughter, said that it was a great way to celebrate her birthday despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
She admitted: “When things started to spread, we were obviously nervous about what’s going to happen with the hospital and how we’re going to be safe.”
But she added: “They’ve done a fantastic job keeping everybody safe here, especially in the long term care unit.
“We couldn’t be happier with how they’ve handled this situation – especially now with everything crazy going on, having this happen is a nice little break from the crazy.”
Ms Franks said that her great-grandmother was the oldest member of the family, which included 11 grandchildren as well as great- and great-great-grandchildren.
She added that she used to stay with Louise Franks at her former Paget home as a child and remembered her great-grandmother for her bedtime stories from the bible and her love of baking.
Ms Franks added: “She was always calm and had such a lovely demeanour – I don’t think I’ve ever seen her upset or angry or anything.
“Even when she came into the hospital she was happy to see anybody who wanted to come and visit her, whether it was people from the church, family or friends.”
Mikeisha Butterfield, another great-granddaughter, said Ms Franks was an “angel” and the matriarch of the extended family.
She added that, if asked for her secret for longevity, “she would say much prayer and love and respect”.
Ms Butterfield said that her fondest memory of Ms Franks was visits to her house as a child for Sunday dinner.
She added: “She would guide us through the kitchen and tell us the old-school way of how to do things – even if she ended up doing it on her own.”
Ms Butterfield said that she was happy to see her great-grandmother for her birthday despite pandemic problems.
She added: “Obviously there are restrictions and guidelines, but because we’ve been celebrating her birthday for ever, we can’t stop now.”