CARP – The October meeting of the Huntley Friendship Club was a Thanksgiving feast with “the boss, herself” making the trip and saying a few words.
The Huntley Friendship Club is the Huntley region member of the United Senior Citizens of Ontario (USCO) organization – one of four making up the West Carleton region including the Kinburn Seniors, Sandhill Seniors (Constance Bay) and the Fitzroy Harbour Lights senior clubs.
In 1971 Carp’s Fern Boyd, 48 at the time and a very active community leader, started the work of organizing a seniors’ group for Huntley Township presenting the case to the then-township council. She got permission to renovate an old hall to accommodate such a group.
It needed a new floor, kitchen and storage cupboards. In 1974, The Huntley Friendship Club became an official member of the USCO. In 2019, the Huntley Friendship Club is celebrating 45 years.
“Fern then continued to lead a team to foster enthusiasm in the new club,” club member Marg Gibson wrote three years ago in a USCO Senior Citizen of the Year Award nomination. “She has been totally supportive all these years. At one point when the club went through some membership problems and was at a decisive and precarious edge for survival, she got on the phone and worked hard to bring new younger seniors in to the fold. Fern was so successful we now have a strong cross-section of both younger and older seniors who work together to keep the club strong and thriving.”
That wasn’t the only major project Boyd undertook in Carp. She is credited with founding the Huntley Curling Club.
“I remember she had this broom that came in two parts and was screwed together,” HCC club manager Peter Smith told West Carleton Online last Friday (Oct. 11). “The top part was also a flask and she made everyone have a sip of scotch out of it.”
Boyd was a real athlete also involved with the Carp Ladies Softball League for many years and teaching square dancing at the Memorial Hall. Boyd was a big fundraiser for the community as well, especially during the fundraising for the Carp library.
Currently the club boasts about 50 members and has strong turn out for its monthly meetings and special events. Huntley Friendship Club President Theresa Dunn calls Boyd “The Boss.”
Boyd made a roughly 100-kilometre drive from her cottage where she now lives in Lanark County to attend the Wednesday, Oct. 9 meeting. After a delicious lunch of turkey pot pie, salads and pumpkin pie, Boyd spoke to the roughly 30 in attendance.
“I never would have thought I would have to introduce myself to the people of Carp,” the spry 93-year-old said.
Boyd talked about the process of getting the club off the ground. She said she dropped out of school after passing Grade 7 “with honours.”
“And I organized you guys,” Boyd said with a devilish smile. “If it’s done wrong, it’s because Fern isn’t well educated.”
Boyd said coming up with the name was the easy part.
“Mrs. Floyd Craig came up with the name,” she said. “We thought, that’s it, right there. Thank you for keeping our club still going. This is a wonderful team.”