A WW2 veteran from Manchester dubbed ‘the scientist’ has turned 100 and earned himself a birthday party with the Manchester’s Lord Mayor June Hitchen and received a birthday card from the Queen.
Born 30 January 1919 in Portland Jamaica, Maxfield Aitken was one of five siblings and comes from a family that usually have ‘a good innings’ as the saying goes. He knew his great grandmother who was born into slavery; his brother Phillip is 88 and his mum lived to 104-years-old.
Having been raised on a farm in Jamaica, Maxfield used to herd his father’s livestock and loved animals. He was a skilled horseman; his most colourful stories are from his experiences around animals such as horses, foul, dogs and mongoose.
Maxfield came to England in the mid-1960s, and talks about the extreme cold and fog that he had to walk from Moss Side to Whitefield to get to work in the mornings. He worked for many years at Turners and then later James Halstead as a machine operator creating linoleum for floors and other uses.
In his prime Maxfield, a.k.a ‘The Scientist’ (in the domino fraternity), was an outstanding dominoes player. He was named The Scientist by his peers for his ability to read the game and anticipate his opponents’ next moves. He travelled around the country representing domino teams from both the West Indian Sports & Social Club and the Big Western in Moss Side.
An avid cricket supporter, Maxfield is a Windies Cricket fan, with his favourite including Sir Clive Lloyd, Joel Garner and Sir Vivian Richards. Also in more recent times, he liked playing with darts and snooker with his late wife Evelyn. He was known in the neighbourhood for introducing halex options for the street urchins in the colony.
‘Tell Us A Story’
Maxfield is renowned amongst his family, close friends and community as a great story-teller. A number of his stories from the past, growing up as a young boy in Jamaica have been immortalised through animation created in a series of short films by Merlene Johns named “Tell Us a Story Grandad” which can be viewed on YouTube as “Tell Us a Story Grandad Animation”.
The African Caribbean Care Group in Hulme which he has been attending for over 10 years hosted a birthday party for Maxfield on 29 January. The group has been a source of support for him, of which his family are grateful.
His daughter Angela says, “There must be something special about Portland Jamaica that promotes long life. As well as his family members, his long-time friend Mrs Daisy Jackson who also lives in Moss-side is still going strong at 98.
“He is a great man to be around and speaks with much wisdom and integrity. He has a positive outlook and really enjoys nothing more than having people around him to share a word or a laugh.”
From his five children; Derrick, Joy, Martin, Mark and Angela, Maxfield has 15 grandchildren.