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Parham mother-of-three Gwendolyn Goldine Reifer officially became Antigua and Barbuda’s newest centenarian yesterday. Reifer was presented with flowers, fruit, cake and a card by her constituency representative Asot Michael in honour of her special day.

The widow, who has outlived all of her siblings, is a staunch Christian and said her biggest life lesson was to “love thy neighbour as yourself”.

Speaking in her honour on Thursday, Michael said it was important for the country’s stalwarts to be recognised, especially as the world takes a pause in the midst of Covid-19 to which the elderly are considered among the most vulnerable.

“It is an absolute honour to stand before you. You are an example to us all as we push through this crisis, maintaining focus on both our history and our future. Thank you for your contribution to our island state,” Michael said.

The centenarian was a midwife by profession, having managed the births of many Antiguans over the decades, to include the children of the late Gertrude Philip.

Despite her age, Reifer said she still appreciates a well-prepared meal of rice and fish topped off with a tall, cold glass of ginger beer – a treat she enjoyed on her birthday.

She explained that her mind remains more active than her body due to the mountains of memories she has collected with her family, neighbours and friends over the last 10 decades.

Reifer is known for her love of bicycles and was regularly seen riding one around her community until well into her 70s.

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