Throngs of distinguished personalities, including erstwhile and present government functionaries, over the weekend, stormed the mountainous Regent Village in Freetown, to pay their last homage to the late Mrs. Victoria Elizabeth Thelma Abiosseh Pratt.
Mrs. Pratt was the wife of famous retired politician and legal luminary, Professor S.A.J. Pratt as well as the mother of Mrs. Sylvia Blyden (retired civil servant in London), Mrs. Antoinette Roberts (retired Principal of Annie Walsh Memorial School), Mrs. Joan Lake (in London), Mr. Jollibinz Pratt and Ms. Thelma Pratt of the National Revenue Authority.
The Saint Charles Church witnessed the funeral and homegoing service that attracted hundreds of family members and people from all works of life in a number that the people of the area say they had not seen in a very long time.
Following the church service, which started at about 2:30pm, the school brass bands of the Sierra Leone Grammar School and the Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School led a procession to and from the Regent Cemetery.
There was a very strong presence of both the ruling All Peopleís Congress party and the opposition Sierra Leone Peopleís Party top functionaries.
Past government functionaries of the Sierra Leone Peopleís Party (SLPP), that joined family members to mourn and grant a befitting burial to the late woman include: Former President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, Erstwhile Minister of Finance, who doubles as Chairman of the countryís main opposition party, John Oponjo Benjamin and Dr. Sama Banya (Puawui), among others.
A cross section of APC National Executive members, the MP for the Constituency encompassing Regent, Hon. Raymond Jones, Representative from the Office of the First Lady Sia Koroma and members of the police hierarchy including Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Personnel Welfare, AIG Tamba Pujeh Gbekie, formed part of the State, APC Party and Police delegations that graced the ceremony.
The ceremony witnessed the signing of the book of condolence by several of the personalities. A quick service of refreshment, immediately after the burial, was hosted at the family house, 2 Gloucester Road, Regent.
The 86 years old late woman, who departed this life on Saturday 12th September 2009, was born the only child of Elkanah Abia Johnson, a certified Master Builder and devout Christian of Rokel Village and Sarah Patience Johnson on, Saturday 18th March 1923.
She attended school at Reuben Johnson Memorial School, then later on went to the then "Osora School" (now the Freetown Secondary School for Girls) before finishing her education at the Annie Walsh Memorial School. Upon leaving school, she chose the career of a Teacher. She did her teaching practice at Holy Trinity Infant School, and was afterwards appointed as a teacher at the Government Model School under Headmaster, H. F. Knox Macauley.
She was a loving and thoughtful person, and lived a life of service to not only her husband, children and members of her family, but to all she would meet. She was more often than not the first person to come forward in a crisis to help out as best as possible. She met the famous Sierra Leonean politician and legal luminary, Professor Solomon A. J. Pratt in her youthful days and after courtship, they got married on Thursday 27th April, 1944.
Their marriage was blessed with children, and she was always ready to follow him wheresoever his work assignment took him to worldwide. She remained a devoted and faithful wife throughout her life.
The management and staff of the Awareness Times extends our sincere sympathy to the Pratt family.
May her soul rest in perfect peace.