Sun | Feb 23, 2020

'The Mother of Plowden' - Lera Manning celebrated for her 100 years on earth

Published:Saturday | July 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Great-grandchildren cutting the second cake.
The cutting of the cake (background) grand children of Manning, (front from left) daughter Lilvia; caregiver, Sylvia Anderson; Manning being helped by daughter, Hyacinth and sons Lidney and Derrick.
Lera Manning
Manning’s second birthday cake


From travelling far distances up steep hills to take fruits to her grandchildren to making the greatest sacrifices for her children's education, visiting shut-ins, being heavily involved in community and giving of herself selflessly, 100-year-old Lera Manning has done it all - effortlessly.

The gold-and-white-themed party held recently in her honour was fitting for a queen, with over 100 guests attending to salute the woman they deem an angel on earth.

Rupert Thomas, a family friend, said the life she lived impacted not only her family, but the entire community.

"She lived a respectable life in the community and is a committed Christian. She has a keen interest in education, and she sacrificed just about everything in order to educate her children. It would be safe to call her the Mother of Plowden as she looked out for everyone with a smile on her face, no matter what she was going through."

With four (formerly six, two now deceased) children - Lilvia Francis-Foster, Hyacinth Francis-Smith, Lidney Francis and Derrick Francis - over a dozen grandchildren and over a dozen great-grandchildren, Manning has a legacy for all future generations to carry on.

"These are years of wisdom and a legacy of wealth that she is passing on with these generations. I pray that she may not live one more year, but 10 more years," said representative from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Patsy Smalling.

Manning was presented with a basket from the ministry and hailed as one of the 18 centenarians currently living in the parish.

Just before belting the song You Raise Me Up, Manning's special request, young Tafari Reid shared how Manning has impacted his life.

"She is a blessing to me. When others were sitting, she was standing. When others were standing, she was outstanding. And when others were outstanding, she was the standard. I pray God will continue to bless her."

A member of the Church of God of Prophecy in Plowden, where Manning has been a member for years, said she was never afraid of walking and took up the challenge with other members of the church, frequently, to walk to conventions, visit shut-ins, and spend time doing God's work.

She is also a family woman.

"She sold in the market - that was her main job. She did farming, and she made handicraft items. She did anything she could to make sure we had what we needed. I remember once when the market truck overturned, she still get on going. That's why I will spend the rest of my life taking care of her, because of the sacrifices she made," said daughter Hyacinth Francis-Smith.

Her son, Lidney, said his mother always did as much as she could - if her service wasn't the best, she wouldn't give it at all.

"My mother is very caring and tender-hearted. I remember once when one of her grandchildren had a cold, and she used her mouth to clear his nostrils. That's the type of love she has for her grandchildren, and, interesting to note, today, that grandchild is a medical doctor. I encourage everyone here to give your mothers the same love she has given you."

Manning ended the night beautifully singing one of her favourite hymns, Blessed Assurance, with her daughter, Hyacinth.