Grenada’s Oldest Woman Honoured By Queen Elizabeth

6 Aug

Source: Grenada Informer

Written by  Rawle Paterson

A 114-years-old great-great-grandmother from Carriacou is being honored as one of the oldest women in the world.

For the first time in her long life Leonora Noel has received a birthday greeting from Queen Elizabeth – but it arrived late.  The first card sent from Buckingham Palace went missing in the post.  A replacement was dispatched via the office of the Governor General of Grenada and delivered to Carriacou by the Governor General.

Masima, as she is known to friends, is recognized as Grenada’s oldest resident.  She lives modestly in a simple wooden house above the village of L’Esterre, Carriacou.  She spends most days sitting quietly where she can watch her chickens roam around the bushes outside and spot visitors who call to wish her well.  Grandson Gibson George is on hand next door to help the lady who he says was so important to him as he was growing up.

The super-centenarian enjoys a good appetite and takes occasional trips in a neighbor’s car to the local town. Apart from help around her home she looks after herself and says she is strong and in better health than the 83-year-old daughter who lives with her.  She admits her hearing is not as good as it has been but she can happily sing in tune the song she learned as a little girl in school more than a century ago.

This remarkable lady is bright, alert and surprisingly mobile. Recently she climbed up a flight of stone steps to meet her new great-great-grandchild, a baby girl named Sarah.  Her trip is documented in the short video made by a visiting


Masima is greatly admired by the Carriacou community which speaks of her many kindnesses to local families over generations.

Masima is obviously thought to have been born before almost anyone still alive today in the British Commonwealth – only one Jamaican woman is older. There are only four more people in the world verified as older – one woman in Italy, another in Spain, and two in Japan.

Masima was born in 1902 in Venezuela. When she was seven years old her mother died there in childbirth. The young girl was brought to Carriacou by her father Sherman, who originated on the island, and she was raised by grand-parents and aunts.

Grenada was a British colony until independence in 1974. Grenada remains part of the British Commonwealth and Masima is a subject of the Queen’s Realm.   Many local people left the islands to seek work in the United Kingdom and scores became nurses and factory workers there.

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