Joyce Westwood Celebrates 100th Birthday



Another birthday worth noting this month was that of Joyce Westwood who was born 10 years before Her Majesty The Queen and has just turned 100.  Sadly, since she was taken ill in the UK last summer, she has been too frail to undertake the journey home but she nevertheless enjoyed some wonderful celebrations.  These included a lunch with a large group of family and friends, a card from the Queen and a call from the Premier as well as numerous cards and calls from friends.  Even her church, St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Sea Cow’s Bay, marked the occasion by calling during the Sunday service to sing Happy Birthday.  Her family all travelled from the BVI for the occasion so she was joined by her daughter and son-in-law Vivian and Christopher Lloyd, her granddaughters Annalie and Joanna Morris and her great-grandchildren Josiah, Felicity and Emma.


The Westwood’s arrival in the BVI was a direct result of the Queen’s first visit here in 1966.  At that time almost no one in the UK had heard of the islands, but the Queen’s visit had extensive coverage in the British press so when the Westwoods were in the Caribbean on business shortly afterwards, Joyce’s husband Neville suggested she come for a few days to see what the BVI was like.  Despite the obvious drawbacks of virtually no electricity, very few shops and poor roads, she loved it and returned to the UK with the comment that it was the sort of place she could live.  In little more than a year Neville had resigned from his job as a director of a commodities broking firm in the City of London, they had sold their house and moved here with Neville making the transatlantic journey in his 26′ catamaran, Susu.


Neville went into partnership with Harold Harney, one of the very few lawyers on the island, and over the decades the firm, now Harney Westwood & Riegels, has grown into the international firm it is today.  Joyce worked alongside Neville for many years but also found time to carve out a life for herself in her new home.  She became very involved in St George’s Church, where she served on the Vestry and made many friends.  She also taught singing at St George’s Primary School, as well as directing the choir and end-of-term productions.  Joyce worked hard at this endeavor which she enjoyed enormously, hosting choir parties complete with treasure hunts at her home, taking her young choral charges to sing carols around the island each year at Christmas, and embarking on field trips as far afield as Louisiana.  For many of her students this was a huge event, providing their first trip outside the Virgin Islands.  As a complete contrast for many years Joyce was also a director of the local airline, Air BVI.

Following Neville’s retirement in 1986 the Westwoods started to spend the hottest and most humid months of the Caribbean hurricane season in the UK.  This pattern continued following Neville’s death in 1994 and it was during her trip last year that Joyce became ill. She still plans to return home as soon as she is able but meanwhile the telephone keeps her in close touch with friends and family.

The Publishers and Staff of The Island Sun wish to extend wholehearted Happy Birthday greetings to the newest BVI centenarian.