Yvonne Sterling to get ‘royal send-off’

January 20, 2021
From left: Little Lenny, Yvonne Sterling and Richie Stephens.
From left: Little Lenny, Yvonne Sterling and Richie Stephens.

Dancehall artiste-turned-businessman Nigel 'Little Lenny' Grandison is promising that late veteran singer Yvonne Sterling will get "a send-off fit for the queen that she is".

Little Lenny and singer Richie Stephens took Sterling under their wings after her plight was highlighted in The Gleaner last November. The trio released a song in December, Thank You Lord, and had huge plans for Sterling, including getting her a home. But Sterling passed away on Monday, the same day she was supposed to be discharged from hospital after suffering a stroke.

"Ah get up this morning and tears just a run down mi eyes. But mi haffi just hold it. Mama Sterling was heading for the top. Ah me and she always a par and she would look at me and say, 'Lenny Denny, my life has really changed.' This touch mi wicked. When she was around, I promised her that I would always be there for her, and one thing I can tell you is that she will definitely go down as a queen. I am making her this last promise," Little Lenny told THE STAR.

He explained that Sterling was diabetic and had high blood pressure, but she was being care for by a team that included medical doctor and dancehall artiste Shacka Pow.

"We did everything humanly possible. If she pick up her phone and call, mi deh deh," he said, adding that his attachment to her, in such a short time, was something he couldn't explain. "Me and Richie got so attached to this lady. She would call me most mornings and say, 'Little One, yuh eat yet?' and I would tell her don't worry about me, just mek sure that she eat. All of this was in jest, because Mama Sterling was a jovial person and we run nuff joke. She was so motherly."

He recalled that two weeks ago, a man from Trinidad called him to go and check on Sterling urgently, because he had just spoken to her by phone and she was mumbling. When Sterling was taken to Medical Associates Hospital, she was diagnosed as suffering from a stroke.

She could squeeze my hand

"But she was coming around, and she could squeeze my hand to acknowledge my questions. I thought she would make it. Richie and I had booked a little place for her to start the rehabilitation process after leaving the hospital," Little Lenny said. "The doctor even recommended a special type of mattress for her, and in a flash, Richie go deal with it. She was supposed to be discharged on Monday, so you can imagine how shocked I was to get a call that same day to say she, Mama Sterling, never make it."

He said that Stephens was so distraught that he had locked off his phone. But Little Lenny takes solace in the knowledge that Sterling enjoyed the last days of her life.

"Her sister called me today to say that she glad Mama Sterling didn't pass in that squalor that she was living in before. Mi bawl this morning, but God knows best," Little Lenny said.

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