By Pioneer Staff
One of Radiums first councillors and a retired English teacher are being honoured with medals as part of the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Phyllis Jackson from Radium and Anne Picton from Windermere are two local volunteers being recognized for their services to the valley in the one-off medal awards.
In conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the Queens accession to the throne, 60,000 Canadians across the country will be honoured after being nominated by local politicians and community leaders.
Mrs. Picton, who is originally from London, England, first came to Canada in 1965, answering an advertisement in a British newspaper seeking teachers to work in northern Alberta.
The ad said, No weaklings need apply, Mrs. Picton chuckled. I spent two years up there and then applied for jobs in this school district without even seeing the area.
Originally Mrs. Picton and her new husband Ray, whom she met and married while in northern Alberta, came to the area for a single year, but this nice place to come to then became a nice place to raise children and then became home, she explained.
Mrs. Picton has been an active volunteer in the local area since the 1970s. She is most proud of the work she has done over the years with the Windermere Community Association, which has ranged from helping to raise $55,000 to renovate the community hall to assisting with the creation of the annual Fall Fair and Birdsong Dinner.
Mrs. Picton has also been involved with the Invermere Legion, Windermere Shared Ministry Church, the public library board, the Columbia Valley Classics car club, Invermere Thrift Shop, Lake Windermere Management Advisory Board, and the Windermere Utilities Advisory Board.
Ive volunteered to keep things going that I thought there was a value to, she explained. If someone hadnt stepped up I thought these events or organizations might have faded away. Its such a caring place, I wanted to return the favour.
Mrs. Picton, who taught English at David Thompson Secondary School until 1998, recalls the very first Windermere Fall Fair, which she co-chaired with Bill Ayrton. The pair were not quite prepared for the events immediate success.
We reckoned we would get about 400 visitors, so we made up 400 entry ribbons, she said. We got 400 in the first hour: it was 1,000 or more by the end of the day … now it attracts between 1,800 to 2,300 per year
Mr. and Mrs. Picton have also combined their volunteering efforts over a shared love of classic cars, and have been involved with the Columbia Valley Classics car club and its annual Radium Show & Shine event since the late 1990s.
It is very rewarding to volunteer, Mrs. Picton said. Ive met a lot of people and somewhere along the way I like to think that I made a difference somewhere.
The second volunteer being awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal is well-known valley resident and original Radium councillor, Phyllis Jackson.
Mrs. Jackson has lived in Radium Hot Springs for the past 48 years, since she and her husband, Ray, made the move from Calgary.
She was delighted and surprised to hear that she had been chosen for the honour, which
recognizes notable achievements in and contributions to the community.
Its exciting. I was shocked when they told me, Jackson said. Ive been here a long time and worked with lots of different organizations.
Mrs. Jackson was a member of the first Radium council when the village was incorporated in December of 1990.
It was the first ever council, so they hired us to sort of start from scratch, she said, describing the members of that council as a great group to work with. It was full of good people … Everyone was learning because it was the very first council.
Mrs. Jackson has been an active volunteer in Radium, working on the Edgewater/Radium Hospital Auxiliary, as well as the hospital board, prior to it dissolving.
She also helped to start the first Radium seniors group, giving elder members of the community a place to come together and mingle. The group now participates in events like the B.C. Seniors Games, from August 21st to 25th in Burnaby.
Mrs. Jackson has also worked with Girl Guides and Brownies, as well as the local business association.
She notes that the duties of volunteering often fall to the same core group of people.
A lot of organizations are short of people, she said. There are a lot of the same faces in all the organizations, so those that do volunteer, do a lot.
One of the bonuses of involving yourself in the community through volunteering is to help influence future generations to do the same, she added.
Both Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Picton will be presented their medals by MP David Wilks in a special celebratory lunch on Friday, August 24th at the Lions Hall at the Invermere crossroads.
To learn more about the Queens Jubilee Medals visit www.gg.ca/diamondjubilee.