Volunteer of the Year: Brenda Scoular
Brenda Scoular is a life-long resident of Pender Harbour who galvanized other volunteers to help her restore Forest View Cemetery on Francis Peninsula. The one-acre property was overgrown with brambles, the fencing had deteriorated, and precarious trees threatened some of the structures. In one instance, a large alder fell and broke off the corner of her own cousin’s headstone.
Beginning in 2017, with the help of many donors and volunteers, money was raised and the cemetery was cleaned up by hand labour. The Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society partnered with Brenda to assist with administering donations and grants, while other community members came out of the woodwork to assist with clean up. So far, approximately $3,000 has been raised – enough to remove the blackberry bushes, install the fencing, rebuild a gate, and install a water station so residents can clean the headstones and fill flower vases. So far, Brenda has directed more than 400 hours of volunteer work.
According to the Coast Reporter, the renewal of the cemetery has led to increased interest in residents buying plots in Forest View Cemetery and in our taking better care of the Kleindale Cemetery which, while not an active and accredited cemetery, is under the care of the SCRD.
Brenda reminded us that donations and volunteers are needed to complete the work.
Lifetime Volunteer Award: Muriel Cameron
Muriel Cameron is a genuine Pender Harbour pioneer. She is the daughter of Charles and Margaret Wray and the granddaughter of other pioneers John and Sarah Wray. She attended Irvine’s Landing School until Grade 8 and then attended the Pender Harbour Superior School. She was the first graduate of the Superior or Secondary School in Pender Harbour and the only one in her class. Following graduation, she worked at a store in Irvine’s Landing for three years before she got married. In 1948, she moved onto the property that she still occupies with one year old daughter June. She later had two sons, John and Bruce and later on welcomed 6 granddaughters into her life.
She has volunteered and donated countless hours over decades to benefit the Pender Harbour community. Approximately 50 years ago, she began her work with the Pender Harbour Community Club. Over the past 50 years, she has held many different positions in the Community Club including Treasurer, Community Bazaar Coordinator, Bingo Organizer (food, coffee, setup, etc.), and Dance Organizer. Quite frequently, she held more than one of these positions at a time. For over 30 years, she ran two tables at the monthly Bazaar or Swap Meet. One of these tables had donated items for sale and the proceeds went to the Pender Harbour Community Club. She also had a table of her knitting and would donate those proceeds to the Variety Club.
She also contributed to the Bargain Barn for more than 30 years. She was responsible for accepting, sorting, cleaning, pricing, and selling the many used items donated. She worked 2 days per week at the Bargain Barn for many years and did all of the accounting. The proceeds from the Bargain Barn all went to the Ladies Auxiliary at the Clinic and in turn this money benefited many members of the community. To honour her, the Pender Harbour Health Centre Auxiliary Society provides two $2,000 bursaries annually in her name.
Muriel Cameron has inspired many others in the Pender Harbour community volunteer their time. Her contribution is noted in the book “Women of Pender Harbour”. She was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. for her volunteerism in 2012, and it is fitting that she be honored in her own community, now.
Lifetime Volunteer Award: Billy Griffith
Billy was born in the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, arrived in Egmont when he was two weeks old and has been living there ever since. He went to school in Egmont and studied vocational courses at UBC, but has otherwise been a commercial fisherman for most of his life, fishing for lingcod, black cod, halibut, herring, prawns, and salmon. With many other commercial and sport fishermen around Pender Harbour, Billy volunteered for salmon enhancement of Anderson, Myers, and Mixal Creeks. The federal Fisheries Department took away Billy’s prawn fishing license because he had not delivered enough prawns the year they brought in license limitations. He complained, and they reinstated his license after he proved his lack of prawn deliveries that year was due to his fisheries volunteer work: that winter Billy had put in 242 hours in under four months as a volunteer on salmon enhancement. But Fisheries put restrictions on his reinstated license: he can’t have anyone else go out in his place if he’s sick, nor can he sell his license, nor pass it on to his family when he retires
Billy was one of four non-Natives invited to be charter members of Central Native Fishing Cooperative at Bella Bella. After that wrapped up, he participated in the Prince Rupert Fishermen’s Co-op until it ended. For the last few years, he has been fishing for Coast Tsimshian Fish Plant at Lax Kw’alaams [pronounced “lac-wa-LAMs] north of Prince Rupert. Billy has also been a steadfast supporter of credit unions since 1956 when the regular bank refused to lend him money for a boat engine. He had his own boat and no debts, but they said, “Go home and grow up, kid.” Years later, when a bank phoned Billy up to see if he wanted to borrow any money from them, he was happy to say, “You can keep your 7 3/4%. I’m paying 9% at the credit union. You wouldn’t lend to me when I needed the money. They did.”.
Billy was one of the founding members of the Egmont Lions Club which opened its doors over thirty years ago. He was president of the Pender Harbour Health Centre Society for three years, president of the Pender Harbour Wildlife Society for several years, and sat the board of Fisheries Renewal BC and later the BC Health Board. He served on the Lagoon Society Board from 2004 to 2018, formative years for the organization that is now creating PODS
Billy has been the Skookumchuck Heritage Society’s president and most constant volunteer since 1994 and for years before, he had been collecting marine engines and other equipment for the museum that would someday be built. People visited him to view or donate items to Billy’s “museum” in a shed at his place. He and a handful of others built the Egmont Heritage Centre in 2005. He also sits on the Board of the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives.