YWCA honours three stalwarts
May 3, 2013

YWCA honours three stalwarts

The life and work of Norissa Cruickshank, Germaine “Granny” Rose and Shirley Byron-Cox, stalwarts at the local Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) is being celebrated.{{more}}

On Wednesday, family, friends and well wishers gathered at the Murray Heights Hotel, in observance of World YWCA Day, to reflect on the positive impact that Cruickshank, Rose and Byron-Cox had on all those with whom they had interacted.

Frederick Stephenson, Minister of National Mobilisation, lauded the association for taking time to honour the women, saying that it was better to give accolades and awards to people while they were still alive.

“It makes no sense to give it after you’re gone,” he said.

The women were honoured, not just for their years of service, but for the contribution they made to the YWCA.

Cruickshank was most remembered for the 28 years of service she gave to the centre.

She performed duties including skills training, the annual summer workshop and the school’s feeding programme which she initiated.

Cruickshank also served as the General Secretary of the YWCA in St Vincent.

Today, that programme continues and feeds 16 of the nation’s secondary and primary school students.

Byron-Cox was commended for her years of service to the YWCA and was most remembered for being the longest serving president of the association.

But perhaps the most celebrated and respected woman of the morning was Germaine “Granny” Rose, who was honoured for her years of service to early childhood development.

Granny, as she is affectionately known, is now in her 80s.

Her journey began in 1982, when the YWCA Day Care Centre was started.

She had six children of her own, but was happy to take care of others — in all she cared for as many as 15.

The Centre grew and more assistance was required.

Bassy Alexander, in his tribute to Granny Rose, mentioned the decision she made to hire Maxine, a blind woman who has been working at the Centre since 1989.

After she had attended the School for the blind, the YWCA was asked to recruit Maxine as a teacher. She was trained and today she is a valuable and much appreciated member of the staff.

The Centre has moved on, mainly through the hard work of Granny, but she had the support of other strong women – notably Cruickshank and Byron-Cox, and today many of the children who attend the YWCA Day Care, are the offspring of those who went there themselves.

Amongst those who paid tribute to the outstanding work of the three women were former parliamentarians Rene Baptiste, John Horne, and Mike Browne.(DD)