Mary Haggard, one of the founding members of the Sunshine Club, was at the club’s 50 Year celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 18. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Port Alberni’s Sunshine Club celebrates 50 years

Members gathered at the community centre where the club began.

The Sunshine Club celebrated its 50th anniversary last week, with members gathering at the community centre where the club began.

Echo Centre was built in 1967 to celebrate the amalgamation of the cities of Alberni and Port Alberni. A few seniors got together one month after the Echo Centre’s formation for a tea group, and eventually formed what would be known as the Echo Sunshine Club.

The membership fee for the original club was $0.50, and there was no age restriction. In 1973, the club decided to restrict membership to ages 50 and up.

Founding Sunshine Club members and a number of past presidents were in attendance on Wednesday, Oct. 18 to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary.

Karen Freethy, recreation programmer for the city of Port Alberni, took to the stage on Wednesday, Oct. 18 to explain the history of the Sunshine Club and congratulate its members on 50 years.

“Over the years, the Sunshine Club has continued to grow and thrive in every way,” said Freethy. “The club has amazing volunteers and depends on the participation on those volunteers. 50 years later, I’m proud to say our roots are still true and intact.”

With more than 300 volunteers, the Sunshine Club now runs programs, activities, workshops and services like the Friendly Phone Service. A monthly newsletter describes the opportunities available to members, and can be picked up in the Echo Centre lobby.

Current Sunshine Club president Daniel Watts also took to the stage to say a few words.

“It takes some effort to keep an organization together for 50 years,” he said. “But with your participation, especially the participation of volunteers, it’s possible.”

He added, “With a little bit of luck and a little bit of science, maybe we’ll see you in the next 50 years.”

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Diane Dvorak (centre) joins the band Timeless to perform an anniversary song during the Sunshine Club’s 50 Year Celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 18. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

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