G.W.V. WORK EPITOMIZED. – Secretary’s Report Reviews Activities During The Past Year. – Much Relief Work.
Following is the report submitted by Mr. D.S. Rashleigh, the secretary at the annual meeting of the G.W.V.A. on Saturday evening last.
Comrades, President Hicks and Members of the Cranbrook Branch G.W.V.A.
Dear Sirs and Comrades:
I beg to furnish the following brief report of the present standing and activities of the Branch during the year 1924.
The present year has been a successful one where the Branch is concerned, both financially, and in the matter of general progress. The balance sheet of the club for the past fiscal year is now available for all members who may wish to see it, and it will be plainly seen that the club is in good sound condition financially, there being practically no liabilities and a good surplus of fully realizable assets.
The activities of the Branch during the year have been numerous in many different ways, the most important of which are as follows:
1. Masquerade dance held on the 17th of March.
2. 24th of May Celebration.
3. Personal visit of His Excellency, the Governor General of Canada, Lord Byng of Vimy.
4. Rotary Carnival Contest, in which “Princess Vimy,” G.W.V.A. candidate was elected Queen of the Carnival by a large majority over her fellow contestants.
5. Putting in permanent repair the graves of all returned men buried in the Cranbrook cemetery, and the placing of suitable crosses on each of the graves.
6. Memorial Day – Decorating of all graves of returned men, followed by Mass Memorial Service the same evening.
7. Large “Armistice” smoker.
8. Annual “Armistice Ball.”
9. Annual “Poppy Day” activities.
10. Annual Banquet.
11. Children’s Annual Christmas Tree.
Besides the above, a number of successful “smokers” have been held and have been the means of securing the co-operation necessary from outside points.
It should be noted that this is the first year that the 24th of May celebrations have been held without an outside canvass being made for subscriptions, and that without the said assistance, a profit of several hundred dollars was made. Gratitude is due to the many prominent citizens of the town, particularly the executive committee of the Cranbrook Agricultural Association, who helped to make the event the success it proved to be.
The election of the G.W.V.A. candidate, Princess Vimy (Miss Gracie Higgins) to the exalted position of Queen of the Rotary Carnival was an outstanding event, and great credit is due her campaign manager, Comrade W.S. Johnson, for his untiring efforts on her behalf, and also to the many others who gave such valuable assistance.
The personal visit of His Excellency, the Governor General, to the Club was a most gratifying event. His Excellency being granted all the privileges of the Club while here, and making a perfect example of the true comradeship which exists amongst returned men, His Excellency very kindly presented the branch with a very fine photograph of himself and this now hangs on the Club Room walls.
The repairing of returned men’s graves in the cemetery is a commendable piece of work, and whilst a large appropriation from the club funds was necessary, yet the money was very fittingly expended, and all graves are now distinctly discernable and easily located, as was proven on Memorial Day, when wreaths were placed on each one, when a foot or more of snow was on the ground.
The “Armistice” smoker was no doubt one of the most successful events of its kind, and great appreciation is felt for the way in which the Kimberley branch, still in its infancy, turned out and showed a strong desire for closer co-operation between the two branches.
The Armistice ball was, without doubt, one of the most successful dances held in Cranbrook during the year, and gratitude is due the ladies who lent their valuable assistance in many ways, and who have done so, willingly and voluntarily, on many other occasions.
The sale of poppies on Poppy Day was greatly handicapped by the very inclement weather prevailing at the time, and here again, deep gratitude is due the ladies who took charge of same and sold poppies, both locally and in the surrounding districts.
The children’s Christmas Tree will be held within the next few days and the usual care will be taken to see that all children of returned men are taken care of in this respect.
The past year has been an exceptionally heavy one in the matter of relief, many hundreds of beds and meals being supplied to returned men passing through the district. The matter of relief is an extremely difficult one, and great care has to be exercised by the officers of the Club in handling same, it being a standing rule that no man can secure relief of any kind unless he can produce the necessary proof of his being a returned man, and is in due need of assistance.
A record is kept of all returned men who are patients in the local hospital, and every effort made to see that their outside wants are attended to at all times.
The executive committee in office during the past year have been the means of securing a new lease on the present building from the City of Cranbrook, which will prove a great asset to the club in the future and act as a safeguard in the protection of the large expenditures made during the last few years by way of improvements and repairs.
It is gratifying to be able to state that the membership roll has had close to one hundred names added to it during the last year, and is increasing steadily all the time.
A great deal of credit is due the Steward, Comrade W. John for the care and interest he has displayed in giving the building and grounds the attractive appearance they now possess, and particularly the preparation work for a first class bowling green which will be ready for use this coming year.
The assistant Steward, Comrade Kincaid, has also proved a valuable and energetic employee and has worked hard in the interests of the Club throughout the year.
As secretary of the branch during the past year I beg to tender my sincerest thanks to President Comrade Hicks, the officers of the executive committee and to the Steward and Assistant Steward, for their support and absolute co-operation in all matters, which co-operation has been the means of placing the branch in the present very satisfactory condition it now stands. It has been a decidedly strenuous year in every way, and had the aforementioned co-operation not existed, it would have been impossible to have made it the very successful year it proved to be.
It is with deep regret that I am compelled to relinquish the position of secretary at the end of the present year, owing to the fact that I am leaving the district. But I feel confident that the coming year will no doubt be a still more successful one, and that the Branch will continue to be a valuable asset in every way.
Again expressing my deep gratitude to all the officers of the Club, and assuring you of my desire to be of any assistance whatsoever to the Branch after I have left the district, and at the same time wishing you all success for the coming year, I am,
D.S. Rashleigh, Sec.