Happy 100-year-old Hope Bascome is cheered by hundreds
One hundred years old and “still as happy as can be”, Hope Bascome was honoured on her birthday by hundreds of people who cheered her through the streets of Somerset.
Miss Bascome was a student at Sandys Secondary School on the day it opened 84 years ago. Yesterday, in honour of her 100th birthday and the school's Founder's Day ceremony, she was transported there in a horse-drawn carriage and cheered by an “honour guard” of schoolchildren.
Pupils from Sandys Secondary joined local residents and children from West End Primary School, where Miss Bascome taught for more than 40 years, to applaud her along the route from her nearby home.
Some 400 well-wishers are estimated to have turned out, and were greeted with waves and smiles from Miss Bascome.
The ceremony that followed at Sandys Secondary included a fanfare from the Regiment and the presentation of a celebratory telegram from the Queen by local MP Walter Lister.
Speaking earlier this week, Miss Bascome told
The Royal Gazette of her long and happy life, and her belief that her Christian faith contributed to her longevity.
“I'm happy in the Lord; I'm glad that he has spared me to see this far in life,” she said. “I've really had a very happy life. I'm still enjoying life. I'm 100 years old and I'm still as happy as can be.”
Born in the Cavello Bay area on November 1, 1911 to Richard Henry Disney Bascome and Arletta Jane Bascome, she moved to her Bob's Valley Lane home at the age of seven. She became a Christian at the age of 15, in a moment she describes as the most important of her long life.
“I was visiting a Sunday service and the Lord just seemed to let me know that I needed to be a Christian.
“I left my seat and went on up because it sounded like they were talking direct to me,” she recalled.
She has worshipped at the Beulah Tabernacle in Somerset for decades and served in various positions including Deaconess and Assistant Pastor.
Miss Bascome also taught for more than 40 years, working at West End Primary, the prison in Somerset, Cedar Grove Public School and Springfield Nursery.
“I loved to teach. I really enjoyed doing it. I think I was born with that kind of memory,” she explained.
She co-founded the United Gospel Mission Camp which began in her home in the 1940s and engaged in evangelism throughout Bermuda. She also founded Camp Joy for young people, to spread the message that Christianity can be fun.
Miss Bascome travelled widely, including to England, America, France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Haiti, Italy, Israel, Africa and the West Indies, teaching and preaching. She has also preached over the radio and television.
She is a single lady, explaining: “I never got married. A man wanted to marry me, but I didn't like him.”
Asked what message she would like to pass on to the young people of Bermuda, she replied: “Follow what I used to do. You have to reach a place where life doesn't mean anything to you unless you're living something that's worthwhile, and being an example to others.”
Quizzed over the secret to living such a long and happy life, she again cited her faith.
“It made me upright and made me live a good life. I didn't do any drinking, none of that stuff. I enjoyed it, and I think that's why I've lived so long.”
Miss Bascome has a younger sister, Miriam Dickenson, 93, who lives in Shelly Bay with her husband Bishop Norris Dickenson. Their brother, former Bermuda Militia Artillery soldier Bert Bascome, died in 2009 at the age of 88.
Miss Bascome enjoys regular visits to Lefroy House care home but still lives in her own home, where family members and caregivers ensure she is well looked after.
Mrs Dickenson said of her sister's 100th birthday: “I'm so glad that she's still with us. She's filled a big place not only in our lives but in the church, the school and the wider community.”
A special photo gallery and video of Hope Bascome's 100th birthday event can be found on The Royal Gazette website at www.royalgazette.com
Events from 1911, the year of Hope Bascome's birth:
The first official air mail flight took place from Allahabad, India to Naini, India.
The theft of the Mona Lisa was discovered in the Louvre.
Roald Amundsen's expedition reached the South Pole.
Some notable people born in 1911:
US President Ronald Reagan, French President Georges Pompidou, actresses Lucille Ball, and Ginger Rogers, Nazi war criminal Joseph Mengele, writer William Golding and baseball star Josh Gibson.