By John Montgomerie
Special to The Spectator
The second annual Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony was recently held at a sold-out Bridgetown Legion Hall. The format used in last year's successful initial ceremony was followed again with a reception, dinner, and presentations. Prior to a buffet catered by Royal Canadian Legion Branch 33, greetings were extended by Mayor Bob Fowler, Warden Reg Ritchie, MLA Stephen McNeil, MP Greg Kerr, and board of directors chair Bronson Rafuse. Co-hosts for the evening were Dick Campbell and Art Marshall; a moment of silence was observed for John Tidd and Howie Jackson, two of last year's inductees who have since passed away.
As guest speaker, Al Peppard of Middleton regaled the audience with stories of the sportsmanship and fun which athletes have historically provided themselves and fans in the Western Valley area. Al's inspiration and insight have aided the board of directors in developing the Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame. Each year the Honour Roll of current athletic achievements is read. This year, members of the 2010 NSSAF boys' soccer provincial champions, 2011 NSSAF boys' softball provincial champions, and 2010 ladies' four lawn bowling provincial champions were acknowledged, as well as 10 other individuals.
The first builder to be inducted was the late Justice K. Lee Crowell. Using his golfing and engineering skills, he oversaw the acquisition and development of the land which became the Eden Golf and Country Club in 1940, one of the finest golf courses in Nova Scotia.
Janet Merry, as a builder in curling, attained high office in various curling associations: Nova Scotia Ladies Curling Association, Provincial Senior Ladies Championship, Canadian Ladies Curling Association Council, Canadian Ladies Curling Championship. Janet was a member of the committee that represented Canada in the first Women's World Championship in 1979.
One of the two teams inducted this year was the 1969-70 BRHS senior girls' volleyball teams, which played two years of highly successful volleyball, culminating in national tournaments in Montreal (1969) and Calgary (1970). Members of the team were Mary Allen, Joan Annand, Dianne Bent, Julie Ann Bent, Audrey Chute, Janet Hudson, Valerie Joudrey, Nancy Lowe, Margaret Messenger, Gail Reese, Lousie Reese, Sherry Smith, Susan Walker, coaches Audrey Sturk and Aubrey Price, managers Ray Gillis and Jenny Phelan.
The other team honoured was the 1973 and 1975 men's four lawn bowling teams. At the 1973 Canadian championships in Regina, the Nova Scotia team of Alan Brown, Dick Campbell, John Sproule, and Joe Tidd won the first ever Canadian title for Nova Scotia in lawn bowling. In 1975, in Vancouver, the Nova Scotia team of Dick Campbell, Jack McNeil, Joe Tidd, and John Wightman went undefeated despite adverse weather conditions to win another national title. These two teams were the first of many Bridgetown lawn bowling teams to win provincial and national titles through the years.
Two athletes were inducted as individuals in their sports. Deborah Foster, in 30 years of competition in lawn bowling, has been a provincial gold medal champion 24 times. She has played on the Canadian national team, allowing her to compete in USA, Northern Ireland, and New Zealand. The late Roy Mitchell, one of Nova Scotia's finest boxers, defeated the best boxers in Canada and USA in a spectacular twelve-year career. Highlights of his career occurred in 1924 when he won the Maritime Provinces Heavyweight Championship and 1925 when he won the Canadian Light Heavyweight Championship.
The final inductees of the evening were Volunteer Steve Clayton and Coach Charles Scarrow. As chair of the Bridgetown Recreational Association, Clayton has overseen the workings of the arena, pool, ball field, and tennis courts. His work with hockey and softball teams has been phenomenal: in 2010, he was selected for the RBC Hockey Leader Award for Nova Scotia. Scarrow, after coaching many sports in USA, settled here in 1996, continuing his winning ways with athletes. In Nova Scotia, he has coached athletes and relay teams that have won more than 300 Nova Scotia titles, 200 NSSAF championships, 32 Canadian championships, and 8 Canada Games medals. At the international level, his success includes two Olympians (1976,1996): he is presently training two athletes for the 2012 London Olympics.
Such a ceremony gives Bridgetown area citizens a chance to remember past achievements. In its past, small-town Bridgetown has produced four Rhodes scholars, a premier, a lieutenant governor, and a pioneer in Canadian literature. It is good that its sports accomplishments are being codified and celebrated. Nominations for the 2012 Hall of Fame are now being invited: for further information on the nomination process, consult the web site at www.bridgetownsportshalloffame.org or the Town of Bridgetown office.