LIFE

mailife - - People -

By MELA KATONIVUALIKU Pho­tos by AL­LAN STEPHEN Leti­tia Martha Chute has weath­ered life’s up­hill bat­tles and if there is any­one who has been through the mill it has to be her. In Jan­uary, her 5 chil­dren, 31 grand­chil­dren, 62 great­grand­chil­dren and 3 great-great-grand­chil­dren hon­oured this re­mark­able woman as she reached a mile­stone 94th birth­day. Try­ing her best to re­call all the years gone by, Letty, as she is bet­ter known, to­day does not have any re­grets about the de­ci­sions she made and the life she had, de­spite it be­ing a roller-coaster ride.She recol­lects that her fa­ther Ian McGre­gor was of Scot­tish de­scent and used to work as a forester with the Fiji Gov­ern­ment. Straight talker Letty was born on 27th Jan­uary 1924 in Do­ciu Es­tate Udu Point, Vanua Levu—much to the de­light of her mother Cometa Hill. “I was brought up by my mother and her rel­a­tives and was es­pe­cially close to my grand­fa­ther.” “My ma­ter­nal great grand­mother was from the chiefly is­land of Bau. Her name was Adi Mere Buli­taudua and she was mar­ried to Thomas Fowler Pick­er­ing. They had seven chil­dren, five sons and two daugh­ters: Ida who mar­ried a Whippy and my grand­mother Ella mar­ried Frank Hill”. “My fa­ther Ian McGre­gor later went on to have three daugh­ters Alita, Lina and Anita and two sons Ian and Robert.” “To­day my si­b­lings live in Aus­tralia and we do keep in touch”. “My mother later mar­ried Ti­moci Varani, a gen­tle­man from Ya­sawa Cakau­drove. He loved me as his own daugh­ter. My step-fa­ther Ti­moci went as far as reg­is­ter­ing me in the Vola Ni Kawa Bula as his el­dest child be­cause he didn’t want me to feel lost or left out.” The cou­ple helped Letty’s grand­fa­ther man­age the co­pra plan­ta­tion and looked af­ter part of the land at Do­ciu. They gave Letty six brothers and three sis­ters. She re­mem­bers en­joy­ing life on the Es­tate be­cause she “got on very well with every­one”. One of Letty’s grand­uncles who came to visit from Labasa de­cided to take her back with him so she could go to school

94-year-old ma­tri­arch, Leti­tia Chute, re­laxes at home.

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