Le­gion Hall fo­cus of new project

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Victoria Vanier, Ayer's Cliff

It is an his­toric year for Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 128 Ayer’s Cliff. The Branch is not only cel­e­brat­ing its 71st an­niver­sary, see­ing how pre­vi­ous mile­stones like its 50th and 70th an­niver­saries were over­looked for var­i­ous rea­sons, it has sold its iconic

hall on Rosedale Street to the town. Although a wel­come re­lief for some mem­bers, they will no longer have to scram­ble for the funds nec­es­sary to keep the build­ing main­tained, the sale has also freed up some of the branch’s mem­bers to work on a new project: a his­tory of the Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion hall and the peo­ple who used it.

“When I was pres­i­dent, I started look­ing at old minute books. There was lots of in­for­ma­tion about who has been in­volved over the years. And now that the town has bought the hall, I had some time so I vol­un­teered to work on this project; I know its his­tory inside and out,” ex­plained for­mer Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion pres­i­dent Su­san Fletcher-Doust. “We’re at a cross­roads now, and were won­der­ing what to do next. The best glue in the world is a project like this – some­thing that gets every­one in­volved,” she added.

“I think this project is a good idea. A lot of peo­ple don’t know much about the Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion, but it’s been quite a go­ing con­cern. To­day, we still have a Poppy Fund to help vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies, but the town takes care of the dances for se­niors, ev­ery sec­ond Thurs­day. Two of our mem­bers or­ga­nize them with the town’s sup­port,” ex­plained Dyanne Saanum who has been the pres­i­dent of Branch 128 since last Novem­ber and who is also work­ing on the his­tory project.

The project will be multi-faceted. Those work­ing on it plan to pro­duce a his­tor­i­cal book­let, au­thored by Mrs. Fletcher-Doust, a pho­to­graphic dis­play and, hope­fully, a video as well. “It would be nice to do some­thing sim­i­lar to what Luc Mar­coux has just done in Coat­i­cook, which in­cludes a dis­play of pho­to­graphs at the Beaulne Mu­seum,” con­tin­ued the past pres­i­dent.

To make the project a real suc­cess, those putting it to­gether are hop­ing to in­volve the com­mu­nity. “We want to make an ap­peal to every­one for pho­to­graphs or sto­ries of any kind of so­cial ac­tiv­ity that re­volved around the hall like im­por­tant fam­ily events that were cel­e­brated there, or ac­tiv­i­ties to do with the Ladies Aux­il­iary. We’re also look­ing for mem­o­ra­bilia from mem­bers, docu- ments, books, medals… We would just bor­row the pho­to­graphs or doc­u­ments, have them copied, and re­turn them. There may be trea­sures out there.”

The so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, be­sides the an­nual Re­mem­brance Day ac­tiv­i­ties, or­ga­nized by the mem­bers of Branch 128 or the Aux­il­iary over the years have been nu­mer­ous and var­ied. “There was once a book group at the hall that gath­ered to­gether books and then sent them to sol­diers fight­ing in the Korean War. We also had a Campers Club for many years,” men­tioned Su­san.

“We want every­body’s voice, pic­tures, sto­ries, any­thing they can pos­si­bly re­mem­ber. There is lots of his­tory con­nected to the hall. We just want peo­ple to know what we’re do­ing so they can be a part of it,” added the Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion pres­i­dent.

“We’re a core group work­ing on the project, but it’s re­ally every­one’s project; a one-off op­por­tu­nity,” con­cluded Mrs. Fletcher-Doust.

If you have some­thing you would like to con­trib­ute to this project, please con­tact Su­san Fletcher-Doust at 819 838-5049 or at doust@bell.net, or con­tact Dyanne Saanum at 819 838-5092 or M. Bowen at 819 838-5756.

Some fa­mil­iar names, like McHarg, Whit­comb and Saanum, are on the Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion’s char­ter doc­u­ments.

Pho­tos Victoria Vanier

Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion past pres­i­dent Su­san Fletcher-Doust (left) and present pres­i­dent Dyanne Saanum are work­ing on a his­tory project that will high­light the last 71 years of ac­tiv­i­ties at the Le­gion Hall.

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