By Joan Anne Hutchings (Gordon)
Thank you, to all the members of the Westport Lions Club past and present.
I personally thank you for all the Christmas cakes and memories that you have given to me. As a child growing up in Westport, my memories of this club are too numerous to mention, however, I would like to share a few of my favourites.
My earliest recollections of this club are from 1947-48, when my father Noel Gordon returned home from the second World War. My grandfather, Thomas Roberts Sr. the owner of the Lexena hotel (The Cove) was retiring and building his retirement home adjacent to the hotel, alongside the pond.
I am happy to tell you that my grandfather’s house is now the home of my cousin Dr. Rob Roberts and his wife Marianne.
My grandfather asked my father if he would like to take over the management of the hotel upon his retirement. My father accepted his offer and we temporarily closed our home on Brick St. (Whalen St.) and took up residence in the hotel owner’s apartment which was situated just off the lobby.
In those early years, the Lions Club held its monthly meetings in the dining room of the Lexena. When I receive a Christmas cake from you each year, I imagine that I can still hear the members singing their signature song, the “Roar of the Lions”, during the meetings. As a little girl, I envisioned (and was half scared) that there was a pack of lions in that room.
As a child, I could hardly wait for each season to arrive. My friends and I considered the village to be our personal backyard playground. There were so many exciting things to do. We played games like hide-and-seek, baseball, we went skating and sledding. We especially looked forward to the events that the Lions Club brought to Westport.
Some fondest memories of the many events sponsored by the Lions club include the annual Westport jamboree in August, the Halloween night in October and the Santa Claus parade, usually in late November. One year, the Lions club brought the RCMP musical ride to our community. This thrilling event was held in the community field now known as Lockwood Park.
Sand Lake beach, now owned and cared for by the Lions Club, is a place our community and visitors alike continue to enjoy. As a child, my friends and I walked to this beach to play and swim almost every day during the long hot summers. At that time, the beach was privately owned by the Botting family and was later purchased by the Lions Club.
It is because of the Westport Lions Club, that the village and surrounding rural communities are fortunate to have continual use of this lovely beach. It is the hard work and dedication of the members of the Lions Club that keeps this property so beautiful.
I am so thankful that I still reside in the Westport area after all these years. What a fortunate person I am!
Many thanks to the Westport Lions Club for all my wonderful memories. I am grateful for all that this club continues to provide to our community.
Happy New Year to all, and I wish you a healthy and prosperous 2021.
“Lions, Keep On Roaring!!”