Kittitian woman celebrates her 100th birthday in North Leeds

Photo courtesy of the Yorkshire Evening Post shows Ruby Moore (center), of Chapeltown, with her great nieces Sheila Fleming-Billinghurst, left, and Olinthia Herbert.

BASSETERRE,ST. KITTS, MARCH 15TH 2012 (CUOPM) – A Kittitian living in Leeds, England is celebrating her 100th birthday.

According to Alison Bellamy writing in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Laurel Rubina Moore, known as Ruby, from Chapeltown, came to live in Leeds almost 60 years ago, when she was one of the first West Indian people to live in the city.

Bellamy continued: Her memories of Leeds from 60years ago are of a very different time to today: “I am glad I am here and still here. I’ve never been back to St. Kitts since the day I left,” she laughs. But says she has visited America to see some of her brothers and sisters, as she was one of 10 children.

Ruby said she was overwhelmed by the size of Leeds when she first arrived, in terms of its vastness and green areas: “This is because the island I come from St Kitts is less than 25 miles long and five miles across at its widest point. She said she was a bit overwhelmed by the length of the streets and size of the houses, but soon got use to them.

Ruby lived in Harehills most of her life, and recalled when Harehills Lane was awash with shops and the shopkeepers knew your name.

“When my great aunt initially came to Leeds she did experience racism by a small minority of people, which she found difficult but dealt with it accordingly, like most West Indians.

Originally from the island of St. Kitts, in the Caribbean, she initially lived in Birmingham from 1956, before moving to West Yorkshire a short time later with her husband Reginald Moore, who died in 1993.They had married in their homeland at the Anglican church of St. Peter’s on St. Kitts.

Although the couple did not have children, she looked after lots of great nieces and nephews, helping to bring them up.

Ruby, who looks remarkably well for her age, said: “I am looking forward to being 100, and celebrating it, especially with the Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Alan Taylor coming to see me.”

She attended the Roscoe Church Luncheon Club until recently and says there are no secrets to keeping young looking, but added: “I do like the odd drink of brandy though.”

Ruby lived for many years at Dorset Mount but now she stays with relatives including great niece Sheila Fleming-Billinghurst and Olinthia, who help to care for her.

Sheila added: “She is remarkable and only has minor aches and pains, no major health problems. She has a good memory about some things.”

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