“We love Salmon Arm! We are continually amazed at the number of people doing volunteer work in our community”. This is the reason Elsie and Tom opened a family fund in their names, from which the proceeds will begin to be distributed at the Foundation’s discretion during their lifetimes.
They are themselves well-known volunteers in our community, active in various organizations including SABNES, choral groups and others.
Elsie was born in Lancashire near Southport and later received a degree in English. Tom was born near Lancaster on a hobby farm that kept the family in food during the war. They met at the University of Liverpool while attending teacher’s college. Tom served in the army in Germany where he got hooked on their trail systems that meander through fields and forests, over hills and dales, and were dotted with cafés and beer gardens.
In 1956 they embarked on the adventure of their lives by coming to Canada as young teachers along with Elsie’s daughter Pat from her first marriage (her husband drowned during an Army exercise). The province of BC sent an interviewer to Liverpool and recruited the young couple for teaching positions in Salmon Arm: Tom was to teach French and Elsie English at the Jackson High School. Elsie added a Masters in Counseling to her qualifications and later worked in that field. Tom advanced to become a school principal and later Director of Education.
They recall the crossing by sea on the Empress of Scotland; the exciting train ride across Canada; and lovingly remember their greeting by Clara Johnston with a tea reception. In time, two daughters, Ruth and Jean, were born. They had satisfying teaching careers and enjoyed tennis, x-country skiing, hiking, camping, RVing, birding, trail building and of course music. How could they not fall in love with Salmon Arm! Tom pays tribute to Don Rogers, Mayor of Salmon Arm from 1990 to 1993, for his foresight in creating a steering committee to explore the idea of establishing a community foundation in the Shuswap area. Don sent Alderman Tom Brighouse to a Union of BC Municipalities conference in Richmond to attend a Foundations workshop. Tom presented his findings and Council voted to explore setting up a Community Foundation. Don astutely established a committee of community leaders chaired by Tom. At the end of one year the committee established a completely independent board comprising of representatives from communities around Shuswap Lake. Tom is quick to pay tribute to this hard working and trusted first board.
Both Tom and Elsie are so proud to have been a part of the establishment of the Shuswap Community Foundation. They wanted to start their family fund while they were still alive so they could enjoy that wonderful feeling at the annual community meeting when money from their discretionary fund is handed out to volunteer groups to benefit the community. They have opened their fund to other donations.