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‘Secret to long life is not dying young’

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The secret to long life is not dying young, that's the tongue in cheek wisdom from Winifred “Winnie” Childs, 100, and nephew-in-law Norman Roberts, 95.

Mr Roberts, a former St George's mayor, celebrated his birthday earlier this month, and Mrs Childs marked a century of living on August 10. They have known each other since Mr Roberts first started courting his future wife Margaret, Mrs Childs' niece, in 1945.

With almost 200 years of life experience between them, the deeper lesson they have to teach might be don't take life too seriously.

“Honestly, I don't have a clue what the secret to long life is,” said Mrs Childs.

And while today's nutritionists make various claims that what you eat extends your life, Mrs Childs said, in fact, she eats anything, “except scuttle”.

“I hate scuttle,” she said with a shudder.

Mrs Childs grew up in Devonshire, one of nine children. Her parents were John Thomas Greenslade and Harriet Maug. One of her grandfathers came from England to work in the Dockyard.

Growing up she said she didn't have a lot of time for hobbies as she had to help her mother with her siblings. She attended Whitney Institute and worked at TJ Wadson's, a bicycle repair shop, and then did book keeping at Bermuda Fire and Marine. She married Arthur Childs who came to Bermuda from England as a policeman. He later opened his own locksmith and lawn mower repair shop on Serpentine Road. They had one daughter, Patricia Leyburn. Mr Childs died in 1969.

Mr Roberts said his 65-year marriage is what has kept him going.

“Margaret and I are still just as in love today as the day we married,” he said. “I married the prettiest girl in Bermuda.”

As a youngster growing up during the Second World War, Mr Roberts was a member of the Bermuda Volunteer Engineers (BVE).

“They gave me a pass and I worked with the United States engineering department on the air force base during the first part of the war,” he said. “It was a good time. I can't say I had any really hard times in my life.”

When the war ended he worked for his father, Harry Gilbert Roberts, who ran the St George's Hardware Store. “When my father passed away I bought the business and we still have a business in the same building today,” said Mr Roberts. “It is called Paradise Gift Shop now and I turned it over to my son Terrence.”

Mr Roberts was also Mayor of St George's from 1968 to 1989, two weeks short of 21 years.

He and his wife have three children, Terrence, Linda (deceased) and Dr Glenn Roberts who lives abroad.

“My passion has been sailing,” he said. “Most of my sailing was in Bermuda Fitted Dinghies. Myself and my children built one that won many competitions. I sailed 14ft international races in the United States and Canada under the colours of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.”

He also enjoyed wood working and has built much of his own furniture out of cedar.

Former St George's mayor Norman Roberts who celebrated his 95th birthday earlier this year. (Photo by Glenn Tucker)
Winifred 'Winnie' Childs, 100. (Photo by Glenn Tucker)
Winifred 'Winnie' Childs, 100, and nephew-in-law, Norman Roberts, 95. The two have almost 200 years of life experience between them. (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published October 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm)

‘Secret to long life is not dying young’

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