Sylvia marks 100 wonderful years
FRIENDLY CHATTER and warm greetings filled the air as friends and members of the McNeill family gathered at the Spanish Court Worthington on Thursday, November 3, to celebrate Sylvia McNeill’s 100th birthday.
It was a special occasion as it marked the start of a yearlong celebration for the regal and strong matriarch. A milestone not seen by many, McNeill was glowing as she walked in unaided and greeted her family members from near and far who had come out to support and honour her.
Throughout her 100 years, McNeill has served as the editor of the New Nation, an organ of the People’s National Party (PNP); a teacher at Excelsior High School; supervisor of the domestic workers association; and caterer for the
three halls of residence at the University of the West Indies, and a councillor for the East Central division of St Andrew.
With three generations of politicians serving both the PNP and the Jamaica Labour Party, the McNeill family remains a tight-knit one, as described by McNeill’s nephew, Wykeham, opposition spokesperson on tourism.
The luncheon was nothing short of a very special celebration as the beautiful music created by violinist Paulette Bellamy and Carol Ball Thompson on keyboards captured the ears of guests and set the mood for the afternoon.
The Spanish Court Worthington took catering honours and they served up a fab fare. This included cranberry garden salad, chicken Florentine and pan-seared snapper fillet with white wine cream sauce served with sauteed vegetables, creamed potatoes, and ended with a dessert of fruit tart, pecan tart, rum ball and champagne.
After indulging in the sweet delights and watching a slide show of McNeill’s most memorable moments, her nephews David and Wykeham; Olive Lewis, George Campbell and Frederick Hamaty gave tributes to the person they all cherish dearly.
David spoke of her continuous support and love towards his family, Lewis spoke of their many experiences in school, and Wykeham expressed his admiration for her outspokenness and the love that exists in his family.
The soirée concluded with the cutting of the cake with McNeill and her friend, Catherine March, the singing of happy birthday, champagne toasts, and a reply by McNeill to express her appreciation.
Wykeham McNeill shares a laugh with his aunt, Sylvia McNeill, on her special day.
Christine Steele (right) shares a tender moment with her friend and birthday girl, Sylvia McNeill.
Ailee Berry wishes her grandaunt Sylvia a happy 100th birthday.
Carolyn Wright (centre) is caught by our camera celebrating with her aunt Sylvia McNeill (left) and her mother, Joyce Wright.
Paula Surtees (right) cosies up to her daughter Mitoya.
From left: Wykeham McNeill with his son Jordan, and cousin John Wright.
From left: Olivia daughters, McNeill with her Jade and Gabriella.
From left: Sylvia’s grandniece Anna Rerrie with Rene and JohnClaude Wright and Poppy Wilson (front).
From left: Lauren Vassall (second left) with nieces of the birthday girl (from left) Celina Wilson, Frances Peterson and Carolyn Wright, are all smiles as they enjoy a day of celebration.