Vic­to­ria names coun­cil cham­bers af­ter first mayor

Lloyd Clarke still in­volved in com­mu­nity events at age of 82

The Compass - - NEWS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­

Lloyd Clarke sat in the Town of Vic­to­ria coun­cil cham­ber quiet and re­served late last month as some two-dozen peo­ple joined him.

The wind was howl­ing out­side, but that didn’t de­ter Clarke’s fam­ily, friends and many mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers from com­ing along to cel­e­brate a mo­men­tous event in his life.

With his wife by his side, it was for­mally an­nounced the cham­ber, the same one he was sit­ting it, would be named in hon­our of the town’s first mayor.

One by one, cur­rent coun­cil­lors, lo­cal MHA Sam Slade, church min­is­ters and for­mer coun­cil mem­bers stood up to congratulate him. He gra­ciously nod­ded at each one.

The 82-year-old was part of a group that helped Vic­to­ria be­come an in­cor­po­rated town in 1971. In Septem­ber that same year, Clarke be­came mayor.

Easy choice

Coun. Kelly Loch said the idea of nam­ing the cham­ber came a few months prior, and coun­cil­lors were asked for sug­ges­tions.

“There was one per­son that came to light,” Loch said. “It was just so sim­ple to say Mr. Lloyd Clarke.”

Mayor Barry Doo­ley added that with Clarke at the helm, Vic­to­ria took shape into the won­der­ful town it is to­day.

With all eyes on him, Clarke stood to speak about the recog­ni­tion.

“The thing about be­ing the first mayor and nam­ing the cham­bers af­ter (me), I want to thank you all,” he said.

He then pro­ceeded to tell the crowd how the first meet­ings that took place for in­cor­po­rat­ing the town were held at some­one’s house. And the coun­cil met at a chrome ta­ble with ba­sic chairs.

“We never had those high back chairs when I was on coun­cil ,” Clarke joked.

He re­ceived a loud round of ap­plause af­ter his short speech, and he re­turned to his wife’s side in the front row.

Ded­i­cated vol­un­teer

Clarke was adamant that vol­un­teers are the heart and soul of a com­mu­nity. The group that helped in­cor­po­rate the town were all vol­un­teers.

For the next four decades, Clarke would con­tinue to vol­un­teer for or­ga­ni­za­tions and help with ac­tiv­i­ties in the town. He would also keep up with town coun­cil.

“I no­ticed he was al­ways in­ter­ested in the town,” said Deputy Mayor Sharon Snooks, who was the town manager for over three decades.

While not vol­un­teer­ing with the lo­cal her­itage so­ci­ety, Clarke has a few hob­bies of his own. He en­joys old coun­try mu­sic, and has a col­lec­tion of vin­tage me­mora­bilia from the past cen­tury.

In June of last year, Clarke vol­un­teered with the Good Ol’ Car­bon­ear Opry show, play­ing gui­tar and singing a few old tunes.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony

When ev­ery­one fin­ished con­grat­u­lat­ing Clarke, they moved into the main foyer of the town hall for the of­fi­cial un­veil­ing of the name- plate. The small black rec­tan­gu­lar plaque reads, “Lloyd Clarke Coun­cil Cham­bers; Vic­to­ria’s first mayor – 1971.”

Af­ter some pho­tos and a snack, the cur­rent coun­cil in­vited Clarke back into the cham­ber to sit in the mayor’s chair.

Doo­ley re­moved his mayor’s Chain of Com­mand, a medal­lion worn by the mayor for of fi­cial ap­pear­ances, and placed it around Clarke’s neck. The rest of coun­cil joined him for a photo.

With the gavel in his hand for the first time, Clarke laughed and said, “We never had any of this in 1971.”

When it was all over, Clarke joined his fam­ily for snacks and re­fresh­ments, each one telling him how proud they were

And all coun­cil­lors agreed that it was an hon­our to be able to fol­low in Clarke’s foot­steps, and each one hopes to leave their own mark along the way.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Compass

The Town of Vic­to­ria’s first mayor, Lloyd Clarke (front row cen­tre), sat in the mayor’s chair and wore the Chain of Of­fice for the first time Jan. 25. Those on hand for a coun­cil photo were, front (l-r) — Deputy Mayor Sharon Snooks, Lloyd Clarke and Coun. Kelly Loch; back — Coun. Frankie An­tle, Coun. Glenn Clarke, Mayor Barry Doo­ley and Coun. Aubrey Rose. Miss­ing from photo is Coun. Jen­nifer Baker, who had to leave for an­other en­gage­ment.

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