The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 259 is checking off its 60 year milestone on March 30 with a celebration dinner. Charlotte Cederholm, secretary of the branch and deputy zone commander for Thompson-Nicola zone, said the public is welcome to attend and those interested in becoming members are encouraged to sign up. Photo by Jaime Polmateer

Legion celebrates 60 year anniversary

Celebration dinner takes place March 30 at the Legion Hall

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 259 is celebrating 60 years and is holding a dinner this weekend to mark the milestone.

The dinner takes place March 30 with doors opening at 5 p.m.

“It feels wonderful; it’s quite an accomplishment because we’ve lost so many Legions, not only in the province, but in the country,” said Charlotte Cederholm, secretary of the branch and deputy zone commander for Thompson-Nicola zone.

“So it’s great to be celebrating 60 years.”

The Legion branch was started in the fall of 1958 when a group of First and Second World War veterans, spearheaded by R. J. (Bob) Franks, and the enthusiastic support of 17 other veterans, decided to form the Legion Branch in Vavenby.

Some of those veterans included George Chesney, R. J. (Bob) Gledhill, Doug Bain, Cless Bayley, Pat Bayley, David Pease, Earl Pease, Ed Cederholm, and George Adams.

They signed up on Jan. 10, 1959 and Pacific Command Vavenby and District Branch 259 was born.

“It’s been changing over the years, I remember when we used to go to dominion conventions, 20 or 25 years ago, it was very specific that poppy trust fund money could only be used for veterans,” said Cederholm.

“Now we can use it for other things and one of the things we couldn’t use it for was grandchildren or great grand children of veterans.”

In the beginning, meetings were held in the local school, which became the community hall and is now a private residence. Later on, meetings were held in a one-room cabin that was on skids to be moved when property was acquired.

Early in 1976 the “big” move came to the flats in Clearwater, to where Double R Pizza is now located. Members of the Branch and the Ladies Auxiliary settled into their new accommodations.

Escalating costs of maintaining the large building and overhead necessitated the sale of the branch building and Legion members were once again on the move.

The Branch was relocated to the empty school in Birch Island where it remained until members were forced to move again when the school district refused to renew the lease. Sadly, while in Birch Island declining membership caused the Ladies Auxiliary to fold in 1992.

For a number of years the branch held its meetings and functions in the Elks Hall until property was obtained in 1998. The branch held its grand opening on Nov. 11, 2002.

The new branch facility set a precedent as it was designated as The Royal Canadian Legion Community Center and is currently being utilized by The Legion, other service organizations and local residents. Today the branch is known only as The Royal Canadian Legion, Vavenby and District Branch 259.

Some of the past presidents have passed on and have left the guardianship of the Branch to those who are left. To name a few Doug Bain, Stan Arksey, Marg Rutsatz, Bill Mason, Bob Gledhill.

“We are fortunate as we also have a number of past presidents to call upon for assistance if needed and some of them are Heather Mcintosh, Norm Labelle, Joe Short, Carol Robertson, Calvin Lutz, and Drake Smith and myself,” said Cederholm.

“Vavenby and District Branch 259 has served its communities well in the past 60 years. We continue to support our veterans, their widows/widowers, local charities, veterans programs and Cadet Corps. At times it has not been easy, at times we wondered how we could keep going, but our members found a way and we kept the wolf away from the door.”

Tickets for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 259 60th Anniversary Dinner are available at the Legion Hall Friday evening, Home Hardware and Mystic Dreams. For more information call Cederholme at 250-676-9592, Calvin Lutz at 250-674-7399 or Harry James at 250-674-7296.

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en clan launches civil lawsuit against Coastal GasLink

Gidimt’en seeking damages and costs over destruction of logging road encampment and gate

Canfor looking at possible repurposing of Vavenby sawmill site

Company open to suggestions on what the site could be used for

Lacarya ladies golf report for July 10

Weather gods kindly provided a dry afternoon so 15 ladies could play at Lacarya Golf Course

NDP candidate wants to make communities more affordable

Gina Myhill-Jones also counts rich volunteer experience as an asset to her potential as a politician

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

BC Cancer Agency refuses to release audit’s critical findings, but discloses ‘positive’ findings

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions of cancer agency’s triage audit

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Countdown starts to 2020 BC Summer Games

Two flags unveiled at Maple Ridge city hall.

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Weather Network’s anti-meat video ‘doesn’t reflect true story’: cattle ranchers

At issue is the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Most Read