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94-Year-old war veteran meets Cameron

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
David Cameron (stooping), United Kingdom prime minister chats with Dorothy Peart, 94, one of the World War II veterans whom he met after laying a wreath at the Cenotaph for war heroes, at the National Heroes Park in Kingston yesterday. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is second right. Peart's daughter, Christine Steele stands behind her wheelchair.

Dorothy Peart, the sociable, 94-year-old World War II veteran cut an unusual dash when she ventured out to meet David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, yesterday.

Although she is confined to a wheelchair these days, the matriarch of the famed Peart political clan in Jamaica, would not miss meeting the prime minister of the country that she once called home.

Cameron went to the National Heroes Park to pay tribute to war veterans in the customary wreath-laying ceremony that occurs during heads of State visits to Jamaica.

"I am here because I am under orders from the legion," quipped Peart who was being wheeled around by her daughter Christine Steele.

"They wanted us here," she laughed, with a twinkle in her tone and sparkle in her eyes.

mother of legislators

Not only is Peart, the decorated World War II veteran, who served up to one year after the end of World War II, she is also the widow of a former legislator and the mother of two of the country's legislators.

Dorothy Peart is the mother of the current Speaker of the House of Representatives and Member of Parliament for South Manchester Michael Peart.

"I produced him in England, she said of Michael, but I shouldn't have said that," she joked.

Her other son is Dean Peart, former Government minister and member of parliament who has retired from representational politics

The man who his mother calls 'Deanie' emulated his late father by winning the North West Manchester seat for the People's National Party (PNP) five times on the trot, before retiring in the lead-up to the December 2011 elections.

A former mayor of Mande-ville, Peart is also a former Cabinet minister, leading at various times the ministries of labour, environment and lands, and local government.

Dorothy Peart said she had just left school and was working when war was declared in the 1940s.

"I had a very close friend who joined up and she was having such a great time, so I said why not? Why not? So, I joined up," she chuckled.

That was where she met the man who would become her husband. "Otherwise, I wouldn't be here now," she said, with the now customary twinkle.

Asked what was the memorable occasion in the war period for her, Peart said: "I wonder if you would believe me when I tell you that the best ex-service clubs were those put on by the Americans who had the best of everything over there."

She said that Piccadilly flaunted the "most wonderful" club and for good reason. "I think this is where I met my husband and I will always remember Glen Miller of the Big Band there."