CONGRATULATIONS: Happy birthday, Naomi Johnson (Pics: Ernest Simons)
SURROUNDED BY family and loved ones, Naomi Johnson last week toasted the milestone of reaching 100 years of life.
The principled Christian was the centre of celebrations within her local south London community as she joined the elite group of centenarians in the UK.
Speaking to The Voice, the woman of the hour shared words of wisdom for long life and good health. She said: “The reason why I have been living for so long is a blessing from above from my Father who is God. My secret? I would say it comes from the respect I showed to my parents, respect to those older than me and being kind to children and showing respect to everyone.”
Born in Cumberland, Clarendon, Jamaica, on January 5, 1916, Mrs Johnson is the last surviving child of nine siblings. A mother of five with 17 grandchildren and great grandchildren, Ms Johnson arrived on British shores in 1956 at the age of 40 and found work as a cook for Queen Elizabeth II in 1960.
Reflecting on her time working for the British Monarchy, Mrs Johnson recalled: “I was the assistant cook but I would also do washing up and clean the boys’ room.”
The former cook also revealed that she witnessed spectacular state dinners before a slipped disc injury would keep her from being able to continue in the role.
The 100-year-old is now at the centre of a flourishing family who all credit her as the source of keeping the family united.
“Looking around and seeing my children and my grandchildren, this brings me joy. They look after me and I'm happy to have them all around me because if I don't see them I don't feel happy,” she said.
Speaking about her religious faith, the great-grandmother said: “When anything comes my way He [God] said to take it to him in prayer. It doesn't matter what life may bring, I always look to him and tell him my problems so I don’t worry myself about things.”
CELEBRATIONS: Family and friends gathered to celebrate Mrs Johnson’s milestone birthday
Looking back she shared that if she could speak with her younger self her advice would be simple: “I would tell myself about the Lord and I would tell myself to continue to read my Bible, show respect to all people and don't be a hooligan,” she laughed.
“In this life, you must show love and kindness to each other and if you see any old people carrying any load and struggling you should take it from them and help them as much as possible.”
According to Mrs Johnson these basic principles she believes have also aided in preserving her life. She explained: “In my youth days before I would go to school I would fetch water for four different people and they would always say ‘thank you’ and say ‘God bless you’ and I think those were the blessings that are still with me today.”
The loved figure was presented with gifts and tributes from the local community including the local Morrisons supermarket.
One of her primary caregivers, daughter Lanah, told The Voice: “As old as she is she is very health-conscious. She is very hip and on the spot with everything.
“She's a good old lady, a very peaceful spirit and even at this age she can offer you advice because she is up-to-date with what is happening in the world around her. Her memory is impeccable too. She can remember back to her childhood.”
The proud daughter shared that the example her mother had set was one that encouraged others to be 'peaceful' and ‘go with the flow’. She added: “She is brilliant at that, she's been doing it for 100 years.”
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