‘Feeling like 50’
Centenarian credits active lifestyle and balanced diet for reaching milestone
If many hadn’t seen it, they might not have believed it!
When a sharply dressed Winston Woodie Richardson stepped out of his son’s vehicle when it pulled up at Government House, and walked fully upright, and with a pep in his step, to the entrance of Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave’s official residence, signed the visitors’ book and climbed the winding stairs, no one would have guessed he turned 100 years old today.
Seeing Sir Elliott celebrate with yet another Barbadian who has reached the milestone is a common sight. But it’s unusual to see one who is as perky, mentally alert and agile as Richardson.
It’s also not all the time that the Governor General is kept locked in conversation by a centenarian throughout his entire visit.
Such was the case when the former athlete, father of three, and grandfather of nine was hosted at Government House today.
“I feel like I am just about 50 years old, not any older than that. I am very pleased to know that so many people are interested that I could be 100 years and look as I am. When I woke up this morning I just wanted to find a jacket and a pants to match,” he declared.
Richardson, who sat on the first executive board of the Amateur Athletic Association and represented Barbados in football and basketball, told members of the media that his active lifestyle and balanced diet was responsible for the shape he was in on reaching the milestone.
“I used to do running on evenings. And my athletic career was wonderful. I played football for Barbados at Kensington [Oval] and I started the game of basketball in Barbados and started the Basketball Association. I am very proud of my athletic accomplishments,” he said.
Richardson had some advice for those who wanted to reach his age in good spirits and health.
“I like to eat vegetables. We should always make vegetables a priority – vegetables like green bananas, plantain, potatoes. Eat fish but don’t fry it. They’ve got to exercise and not eat too much; eat enough to keep going,” he said.
He recalled his job as chief superintendent at Water Works. He retired in the 1970s and immediately opened his own plumbing business.
“I used to look after the water mains all through the island. I could lie in bed at night and a fella would say ‘look, I have a burst main and we don’t know how to shut off the water’.
“I would say ‘well, look, there is a black shop right down by the corner at this road and you would see a left hand valve’.”
The former Combermerian recalled coming to Barbados from St Lucia by boat with his then pregnant mother, seven siblings and flock.
“The old lady brought ducks, fowls and all kind of things that she had on the boat. The first house we lived in was where the Boat Yard is now,” said the centenarian who is celebrating with a big party tonight.
Sir Elliott congratulated Richardson on reaching the milestone.
He said the centenarian, who resides in Christ Church, was invited to Government House under special circumstances and noted this would not be the case for centenarians in the future.