Legion Hall focus of new project
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 email@example.com, 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.
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.