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Bridgetown honours its sports heroes

Louise Sanderson, left, brought the idea of a Special Olympics program for Annapolis County with her from Ontario in 1988. She was inducted as a Builder at the sixth annual Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame induction Nov. 14.
Louise Sanderson, left, brought the idea of a Special Olympics program for Annapolis County with her from Ontario in 1988. She was inducted as a Builder at the sixth annual Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame induction Nov. 14.

BRIDGETOWN - Once again, a large crowd gathered in the Bridgetown Royal Canadian Legion for the sixth annual Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame induction Nov. 14. The 2015 induction of athletic achievers was emceed by Art Marshall and Dick Campbell.

Greetings were brought from Annapolis County Warden Reg Ritchie, West Nova MP Colin Fraser, and Annapolis MLA and Premier of Nova Scotia Stephen McNeil.

In his remarks, Bridgetown native McNeil commended those involved in Special Olympics in Annapolis County. Chairman Jim Verran led a moment of silence for the late Joe Tidd and Harry Verran, past inductees.

The first order of business was the reading of the 2015 Honour Roll by Dave Whitman, an acknowledgement of the achievements in the past year at the provincial and national levels of current athletes and teams.

 

Builder

The first person to be honoured was a builder, Louise Sanderson, who brought the idea of a Special Olympics program for Annapolis County with her from Ontario in 1988. The great benefit of the program lies in bringing physical and social activity to those with an intellectual disability.

In 1990, participants went to their first Special Olympics competition. As interest in the program grew, several athletes went to the National Games, winning medals: one athlete went to the International Games, winning a medal. Louise was chairperson of Annapolis County Special Olympics for 12 years, attending meetings in Halifax with other provincial representatives.

Louise also became a board member of The Revolving Door, now known as Carlton Road Industries, which provides workshop activities to give those who are disadvantaged a more fulfilling life.

Greetings were brought from Annapolis County Warden Reg Ritchie, West Nova MP Colin Fraser, and Annapolis MLA and Premier of Nova Scotia Stephen McNeil.

In his remarks, Bridgetown native McNeil commended those involved in Special Olympics in Annapolis County. Chairman Jim Verran led a moment of silence for the late Joe Tidd and Harry Verran, past inductees.

The first order of business was the reading of the 2015 Honour Roll by Dave Whitman, an acknowledgement of the achievements in the past year at the provincial and national levels of current athletes and teams.

 

Builder

The first person to be honoured was a builder, Louise Sanderson, who brought the idea of a Special Olympics program for Annapolis County with her from Ontario in 1988. The great benefit of the program lies in bringing physical and social activity to those with an intellectual disability.

In 1990, participants went to their first Special Olympics competition. As interest in the program grew, several athletes went to the National Games, winning medals: one athlete went to the International Games, winning a medal. Louise was chairperson of Annapolis County Special Olympics for 12 years, attending meetings in Halifax with other provincial representatives.

Louise also became a board member of The Revolving Door, now known as Carlton Road Industries, which provides workshop activities to give those who are disadvantaged a more fulfilling life.

Derek Woodbury, left, was honoured in the coach category. He began coaching in the Special Olympics program in Annapolis County 16 years ago.

Coach

Directly related to Louise Sanderson`s work is that of Derek Woodbury, who was honoured in the coach category. He began coaching in the Special Olympics program in Annapolis County 16 years ago, coaching masters, curling and bocci.

A focus for his work has been participation in summer and winter games as a leader and coach: he has been chef de mission twice. To allow these participants to travel to various provinces for these games, fundraising is an essential part of Derek`s leadership. He has helped organize any number of fundraisers; he has helped with golf tournaments as well. He has served on the Board of Directors as vice co-ordinator for five years and area co-ordinator for two years.

The key to Derek`s success with the organization apparently lies within Derek`s personality: he is friendly and outgoing, highly respected by the athletes. He has been a constant throughout this important program.

Phillip Boyd, left, was inducted as a track and field star who set many records regionally and provincially.

Phillip Boyd

Phil is another Bridgetown athlete who excelled in track and field competitions, who credits coach Dick Campbell for much of his success. In 1969, he set a record in the triple jump in the regional championships, a record leap of more than 13 meters which still stands today.

At the Antigonish Highland Games that year, Phil set another record in the triple jump (13.75 meters) which has never been broken. As part of the Nova Scotia team in the first Canada Summer Games, held that year in Halifax-Dartmouth, he had a personal best performance in the long jump.

Complementing his athletic work is his achievement in music and drama in the community: he was the leader of Saints and Sinners, a band which would tour the province, winning Battle of the Bands competitions in Greenwood and New Brunswick.

Noteworthy is his participation in the Inglewood Players centennial project, the acclaimed original play ‘Coming Here to Stay.’ He has also served  with the Nova Scotia Association of Colored People and Black United Front.

Gerry MacDonald, left, was inducted for his phenomenal running record. Over 28 years, he has run approximately 50,000 miles, about two times the circumference of the Earth.

Gerry MacDonald

Gerry was inducted for his phenomenal running record. Over 28 years, he has run approximately 50,000 miles, about two times the circumference of the Earth. He has completed 67 full marathons, averaging six marathons per year. He has run nine Boston marathons, run leg nine of the Cabot Trail Relay for 20 years, won the Rum Runners ultramarathon three times, run the St. Andrew`s marathon 24 times, completed the Keji perimeter run 14 times, completed the Run Against Racism 12 times, won his age group in the Valley Ultramarathon in 2013, competed several times in the Johnny Miles and Nova Scotia marathons.

His running records include many years of completing all of the Run Nova Scotia series of races. One of his proudest achievements was the 24-hour Sri Chinmoy event in Sackville, NS: runners cover as much ground as they can, but Gerry outpaced all others, running 100.92 miles, 25 miles further than the runner-up. Running may be a solitary endeavour but Gerry has the focus to master the time and pain associated with such a demanding sport.

Bridgetown Seakings member Carrie Whightman has won literally dozens of first, including 11 provincial medals. She was inducted as an athlete. Last year she was inducted as a member of the 1984 Bridgetown Seakings swim team.

Carrie Wightman

Carrie returned this year to be honoured as an individual after being inducted last year as a member of the 1984 Bridgetown Seakings swim team. At age eight, she was encouraged to join the swim team, winning her very first race. In 1981, she was selected as the ‘9-10 Age Group Best Swimmer.’ She won her first provincial medal in Bridgewater in 1982, the first of her 11

provincial medals. She was a vital member of the team which would win the provincial championship in Lunenburg in 1984. In 1985 she was awarded the plaque as ‘1985 Best Overall Female’ for 13-14 age class swimmers.

Carrie continued to win many races until 1988: in this time she had won 91 first-place ribbons, 84 second-place ribbons and a large number of medals. Subsequently, as Pool Director and Swim Team Coach of the Lawrencetown Lazers, in 1993 the team won as best small club with Carrie being selected best small team coach at provincial championships in Bridgewater.

Now living in Edmonton, as a member of the swim club at the Commonwealth Games Pool, she won her heat at the 2005 World Masters Games. Her competitive instinct has induced her to try Ironman and Triathlon events.

The 1959-1960 BRHS Girls Soccer Team, back from left: Bliss FitzRandolph, Sheila Clements, Joyce Lawrence, Beth Bent, Elaine Mitchell, Donna Leonard, and Vickie Shaw. Front from left: Lois MacMillan, Frances Lawrence, Iona Barteaux, and Geraldine Mitchell.

1959-60 BRHS A Girls`Soccer Team

This team had an interesting start with six girls who had begun school together in Primary looking for a soccer team once they had reached BRHS in 1954: Rose Mitchell, Elaine Mitchell, and Geraldine Mitchell from Inglewood and Joyce Lawrence, Frances Lawrence, and Vicki Shaw from Clarence. By the time these girls had reached Grade 12, they were joined by Bliss Fitzrandolph, Donna Pick, Karen Bent, Beth Allen, Sheila Clements, and Lois MacMillan.

Dianne Patterson was manager of the team.

From Grades 8 to 11, Jack Walker was the coach, with Iona Bishop taking over in Grade 12. Iona had graduated from BRHS in 1958, actually playing with some of the girls whom she was now coaching.

In 1957, the Bridgetown girls were Western Regional winners, defeating Annapolis and Digby schools. In 1958, these ‘evil kickers,’ as they came to be called, repeated as winners. In 1959, the team won the Congress title by defeating Annapolis Royal. Advancing to the Headmasters Regional finals, the girls defeated Cambridge in a two-game total points series. They next played Centre, winning by scores of 4-0 and 8-2. Finally, at the Headmasters finals in Windsor, ‘the evil kickers’ defeated New Glasgow 9-2, winning the provincial soccer title.

For the six originals, this was a dream come true. In effect, as all schools regardless of size competed for the one title, this spirited team defeated all Nova Scotia schools to win that title - well done, girls!

The 1963-1964 Bridgetown Hawks are, back from left, Don Kaulback, Lawrence Bishop, Junior Laundry, Raymond Longley, David Watt, Lloyd Bonang, Lionel Kennedy, and Harry Stevens. Front from left are Eric Bezanson, Jack Buntain, Cindy Keith (Durling), Eddie Gillis, and Don Bezanson.

1963-1964 Bridgetown Hawks Intermediate Hockey Team

This team played in the Western Valley Hockey League (WVHL) against College Ste. Anne, Digby and Cornwallis: it was a well-established league in which hometown pride and regional dislikes played a strong part.

A remarkable aspect of the team was its resilience with the players being working men whose attendance at games was not always certain. The Hawks iced a team several times with only eight players: one or two of them would play the entire game.

After winning the WVHL playoffs, the Hawks faced South Shore champions Bridgewater in a two-game total goals series, winning 17-5. Stellarton was their next opponent. Bridgetown won the first game 7-4, but lost the second game which had to be played in Berwick due to soft ice in the home rink. As Stellarton had played an ineligible player, Bridgetown was declared winner of the series.

Finally the Hawks played the provincial championship series against Cape Breton in a best-of-three series. As Bridgetown won the first two games, the team was crowned Provincial Champions. Members of the team were Donny Bezanson, Eric Bezanson, Lloyd Bonang, Bill Buntain, Donnie Fox, Ed Gillis, Leo Kaulbach, Lionel Kennedy, Junior Landry, Raymond Longley, Dave Nesnick, J.C.Spence, Amos Stevens, Bruce Watt, Paul Wilhelm, Lawrence Bishop (coach), Peter White (trainer), and Lloyd Durling (statistician).

Accomplishments

The hockey champions mentioned the tough times they had, but love of the game and small town pride enabled them to persevere and win. Athletic accomplishments pepper Bridgetown`s history: being such a small town makes the accomplishments of these athletes even more significant. Each Hall of Fame induction has brought together past and present generations to celebrate.

Bridgetown residents and others may experience the achievements of the inductees in the past six years by visiting Bridgetown Development Centre - Trojan Sports Centre where a permanent display of all citations can now be viewed.

For information on the nominating procedure and photos of past inductees, go to the web site of the Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame at www.bridgetownsportshalloffame.org

 

Article by John A. Montgomerie, Bridgetown, a writer, musician, educator, and regular contributor to The Spectator.

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