Miss Stella, 104 and going strong
At 104 years old, Estella Thelwell has the distinction of being one of Hanover's oldest residents, and a very bright, chirpy and sharp one too.
Fondly known as 'Miss Stella', Thelwell celebrated her 104th birthday on Valentines Day, February 14, at her home in Esher in Hanover, surrounded by her daughter Mabel Pearce and her son-in-law Windel, as well as a host of relatives, adopted daughters and her caregiver.
Thelwell grew up in the hills of Burntside in Eastern Hanover, where she lived until she got married at the age of 24, and relocated to Patty Hill. She had a total of 14 children four of whom are deceased. She also outlived her husband Rudolph Thelwell, who died at the age of 62.
"She was a midwife and dressmaker and operated a grocery shop," her daughter Mabel Pearce told Western Focus. "Life was great with her. She was a good mother to us. She is a great mother and I love her. I feel proud to see that I can take care of my mother until she is 104. My husband is a great man to mom and when I am not here he keeps and cares for her."
Thelwell who is also a member of the United Church, told Western Focus that one of the factors contributing to her longevity was the treatment she received from her late husband, caring for community members who needed help as well as young children whom she took into her home, and raised as her own.
"My husband feed me good. When I was having my kids (pregnant) he used to beat egg with stout and give me and that made me strong. I didn't do plenty work. I only mind my kids them. My mother was a midwife and I came and learnt the trade ... me didn't like it so me lef it," she said laughing.
"I was all right with everybody in the district. Not a man can give me bad name; if dem sick, dem call me, and I help each and every one. And if there were sick or old people in the district, they would come and call me to give them help," she said, adding that she also assisted needy children with lunch and clothes.
Her advice to others to maintain good health and long life is to help others and trust in God.
"I helped people in the district and they give me a good name and the Lord walk with me and blessed me. Persons should believe in the Lord and do what they can do to help others who are coming up, so when they come up, they will help someone else," she said.