Seniors ‘on sunny side of life’


 At their final meeting on June 6th at Matilda Hall, the Helping Hands of Matilda group enjoyed concert entertainment from several local musicians.

Group president and long-time resident of the area, Lorne Strader organized the event, lining up 90 minutes worth of musical entertainment. Songs were from the country and gospel variety.

First on the docket were Madalyne Gates of Iroquois along with  Gerry Morrell and Bernie Coville, both of Johnstown. While Gates sang and played the keyboard synthesizer, Morrell played the guitar and Coville played the mandolin. Morrell’s parents were in the audience and as a gift to them, the trio ended the set with the couple’s favourite song, I’ll Fly Away.

Next up were husband and wife singing duo, Charlene and Jack McCargar from South Mountain. While Charlene played the mandolin, Jack played the guitar and both sang to the enjoyment of the toe-tapping crowd. Capping off their stint on stage, the couple ended with Because He Lives.

Third on the docket were local guitar players Mary Perry and Ralph Jollota, both of whom could sing up a storm. 

While Ralph shared a well-received song written by his brother, Mary made a point of singing those songs the crowd could join in on. The talented pair reminded the crowd to Keep on the Sunny Side.

Last, but not least, were Bill Horner and Lloyd Hall playing guitar and singing in harmony. The friendly duo got things underway with a well-known gospel tune, Kneel at the Cross.

Between sets, Strader kept the crowd laughing with some very funny jokes. According to Strader there were 56 members in attendance, a record number due to the advertised entertainment.

Helping Hands is a group of seniors who meet the first Wednesday of each month from September through June. Those in attendance enjoy a hearty lunch, a little entertainment and some socializing. In addition, they make greeting cards for those seniors who are unable to attend the monthly event, reminding them that there are those who care.

During July and August, the group enjoys day trips to different events within Eastern Ontario. According to secretary Jean Van Gilst of Chesterville, “we’ve been to so many places.”

Van Gilst’s term as secretary ended with the close of the June meeting. Strader presented her with a service plaque, thanking her for her many years of service. Van Gilst became secretary of the group in September 2009.

Helping Hands of Matilda has 62 paid members. Membership costs just $5 per year. Membership, however, is not a prerequisite for attending meetings. Anyone over the age of 50 is welcome to attend.

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