On Sunday May 6, the day that the Coldwater Branch is holding its elections, our Ladies Auxiliary are celebrating the 70th anniversary of receiving its charter. Indeed, this represents 70 years of outstanding, dedicated service to the branch and to the Coldwater community. Official documentation about the early years of the organization is scarce, but thanks to a few articles penned by original charter members we get a glimpse into some of their activities. Early on in the development of the Royal Canadian Legion, wives, mothers and sisters of Service men were not allowed to join the Legion, but they were eligible to be members of a Ladies Auxiliary.
So it was that on February 10, 1948, a group of Coldwater women met for the first time to organize the Ladies Auxiliary of Branch 270. The charter, dated May 6, 1948, lists the following names as founding members: Grace Brodeur; Margaret Emslie; Marjorie Brown; Ruth Danby; Zoe Dunlop; Vera Godfrey; Velma Godfrey; Mary Jacob; Eva Lovelace; Kathleen Lye; Viola Lye; Rose Manning; Helen Polkinghorne; Doris Robertson; Audrey Sallows; Eileen Sallows; Jessie Sallows; Catherine Stevens; Annie Watt; Rosella Weatherall; Mrs. Grace Worell; Mrs. Cora Lane; Mrs. Jean Haines; Margaret Devitt; and Georgana Douglas.
Catherine Stevens, one of the charter members, describes how the Ladies had to use some initiative in the early years when the Legion Hall was not suitable to hold functions. "The Hall being very small, we catered to banquets in Manning's Music Hall [across from today's Home Hardware]. Branch members set up a cook stove on the stage. Food was prepared at home and carried to the hall where we attempted to keep it warm. Dishes and cutlery were borrowed from other organizations." At special functions such as Remembrance Day, the Ladies cooked and served for more than 200 people. At $1.25 a plate!
Members of the Ladies Auxiliary have been known for their delicious food served at functions and banquets, but they do so much more than cooking and serving. Throughout the year they are involved in all kinds of fundraising efforts that benefit the branch, the local youth and the community. Today's membership in Branch 270 Ladies Auxiliary is 49, with many ladies holding membership in both the Ladies Auxiliary and the Branch. Thank you so much Ladies, and Happy 70th!
Branch 270 Ladies Auxiliary have supported the branch's activities for over 70 years. At the April General Meeting, L.A. President Donna Packer (right) presented a cheque for $2,000 to Branch President Betty-Jean Murray, to help with the upgrading of our outdoor information board.