New London Rural Community Fire Company marking 50th anniversary Saturday, Aug 25 at fire hall

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Would you believe several firefighters, who were around when the New London Rural Community Fire Company began service 50 years ago (incorporated in 1968), are still on the roster? They are Dale Parsons, Peter Elsinga, Douglas Cole and Joe Reid.

Fire chief Allen Cole and the entire New London Rural Community Fire Company will be welcoming area residents to the fire department’s 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday, Aug 25 at the New London Fire Hall

Fire chief Allen Cole, son of Douglas Cole, says two of the four “originals” are 86 years of age (Douglas Cole and Joe Reid) and although they are not on active fire service still provide valuable support around the department including working in communications and taking supplies to personnel on fire calls. The others are in their 70s.

At the other end of the age spectrum is a 17-year-old junior firefighter.

They and the rest of the 38 person fire company will be celebrating the department’s 50th anniversary on Saturday, Aug 25. Everyone is invited to the bash at the New London Fire Hall, running from 9 am to 6 pm.

Among the guests are Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry, Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter and Rustico-Emerald MLA Brad Trivers, with other local and provincial dignitaries expected as well.

A memorial service will be held for New London firefighters who have passed on.

There have been many exciting changes over the past five decades including a new fire hall, built in 2009 with impressive community support at a cost of approximately $750,000. The department has also seen an increase in fire trucks from two to the current six.

There will be a free breakfast, free bouncy castles for the kids, fire hats and T-shirts to give away, and of course, all the department’s entire collection of emergency vehicles will be on display to impress kids of all ages. Many family-friendly activities are slated for the day.

The celebration concludes with fireworks in the evening.


MacCaull and friends light up the stage

Acclaimed Island musicians Roy MacCaull, Marcella Richard and Larry Campbell took to the Stanley Bridge Centre stage on Aug 19 to deliver another rousing performance. Mixing popular original tunes with country, gospel and folk favorites and a salty splash of homespun humor, the talented trio provided a memorable evening’s worth of entertainment. Don’t worry fans, you will see them (and Roy’s magic mandolin) at the SBC many more times!
Photos by Jim Brown


Stanley Bridge Centre hosts exciting new business venture, opening June 16

by Jim Brown

Pieter Ijsselstein has big plans for the Stanley Bridge Centre, which he has leased for the summer months and will be open for business on June 16.

The co-owner of White Gables at Hope River, Mr Ijsselstein recently returned from a taping of Dragon’s Den to pitch his potato soap themed products.

He says the new Stanley Bridge Centre-based retail sales outlet (bearing the iconic White Gables name) will offer Island landscape paintings, pottery, weavings, and, of course, his burgeoning lines of Island Potato Soap and Skin Cream made with Potato Juice and Island Oils.

He also plans to have two Island market days, which will feature products from several other vendors, on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout July and August.

It’s an exciting time for Pieter and Geraldine who have seen their certified organic potato soap products, including skin creams, sold in 225 locations throughout the Maritimes. All told, they have created more than 40 varieties of potato soap (including beer soap) and more are under development including a sunscreen made with Potato Juice.

“A lot of people in the US are ordering online and there are retail outlets in Ontario, BC. Maine, even the Yukon,” says Pieter

Pieter also has an order of 4,500 bars of soap from the Leezen connection in Taiwan, which are to be shipped out before the end of June.

The shipment involves four varieties of soap – Certified Organic Coffee, Anne’s Baby Soap (unscented), Lavender essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil soaps.

Right now, Pieter is waiting to hear from Dragon’s Den’s producers when his segment will air in the upcoming new season. So until then, everything is under wraps.

But even without news from Dragon’s Den, his lines of potato soap and skin cream sales are creating a lot of interest.

He estimates he will produce anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 bars of soap this year. Sales have doubled this year, he said.

Among his 40 varieties of certified organic soaps are such popular brands as Lucy Maud Sweet Pea Soap and Sea Kelp Soaps, as well as eight Lighthouse soaps featuring beautiful illustrations (by Geraldine, his wife) of lighthouses including PEI’s famed West Point Lighthouse and the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse from Nova Scotia.

All the work is done at his home-business just around the corner in Hope River, though the bulk of his certified organic potato purchases come from various Island growers.
His soap-based skin creams are sold in 100 ml pump bottles, which are great for tourists who can easily take it in their carry-on luggage if they are flying.
We are all looking forward to another great summer at the Stanley Bridge Centre!


Bringing down the house, SBC hosts first concert of the season

Jim Brown photos

The Stanley Bridge Centre (SBC) presented a rousing night of music June 10 at the SBC in Stanley Bridge. Featured performers were Gertie and Bill Campbell, Lou and Elmer Doiron, Trudy Hughes, Mary Campbell, Jason Campbell and Fenton MacSwain. Money from the concert will go towards needed renovations at the SBC.

Connie Morrison, on the Stanley Bridge Memorial Society’s board of directors, hoists a beautiful painting created by acclaimed Margate artist Karen Slater. Tickets will be sold on the painting through the summer to help finance renovations.



Hundreds of friends, family members and supporters turn out to Joan Harding’s benefit

Story and photos by Jim Brown

You are truly blessed in life if you have many friends. And that’s certainly the case in spades for Joan Harding.

It was turn away crowd at the New London Community Complex on April 6 for a benefit thrown by an army of volunteers, many of whom were friends and family of Joan, to help cover her health care related expenses. Cars jammed the parking lot and were parked on the road on both sides of the complex.

So many people attended several had to be turned away, including parents who brought their young children with them, since children under 19 were not allowed inside. It was difficult finding a chair to sit on to enjoy an impressive lineup of musical entertainers or to take a break from looking at long tables filled with scores of donated auction items.

Joan was unable to attend, since she was in Charlottetown receiving treatment for cancer.

Audrey Paynter and Dick MacDonald donated more than $500 in winnings from the evening’s 50/50 draw to their dear friend, Joan Harding.

Among the 300 or so people who attended was a couple soon to be married, who travelled all the way from Cornwall. Dick MacDonald and Audrey Paynter donated 50/50 winnings of $520 from the evening’s draw to their dear friend. The two are longtime friends with Joan, who helped Audrey through her own battle with cancer.
“She came to see me when I was fighting cancer, so we have to come and do these things for her now when it’s her turn,” said Audrey, who sang at the benefit.

“We donated it to a great friend. Joan’s been a buddy of mine and Dick’s for many, many years,” she said.

“She is a good friend of many, many people, that’s why this place is overfilled tonight,” said Audrey.

Joan Harding is employed at the New London recycling facility and is the treasurer of the Stanley Memorial Society, which has operated a farmer’s market at the Stanley Bridge Centre for the past several summers, as well as hosting history circles, musical shows and other events.


Welcome dinner celebrating 50th anniversary of hockey exchange draws sell out crowd

Tickets were sold out weeks before the doors opened at the New London Community Complex to alumni, current players, parents, friends and others involved in the longest running friendly hockey exchange in the world.

More than 280 tickets were sold to the Jan 26 Kensington, PEI-Bedford, Que., Peewee Friendship Hockey Exchange welcome banquet. Included in their number were members of the very first exchange, some wearing their jerseys. Events later in the weekend included alumni breakfasts, official photos and ceremonies, hockey games, entertainment and a social at the Kensington Legion and a march on Sunday from the Kensington Town Hall to the Community Gardens for the closing friendship game.
Story and photos by Jim Brown
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Some of the items on display at the New London Community Complex, where a sold-out banquet was held celebrating the Bedford-Kensington hockey exchange’s 50th anniversary.

Every ticket was sold weeks in advance to a special Bedford-Kensington hockey exchange benefit, held at the New London Community Complex. Close to 300 people attended.

Bedford-Kensington hockey jerseys were on display at the New London Community Complex banquet in honor of the world’s longest running friendship tournament.

The bonds of friendship spanned 50 years for two former members of the Bedford-Kensington hockey change, now 60. From left Dean Dennis, who played with the Kensington team in the friendly tournament’s first year, and Bedford pal Richard Callaghan, were on hand to help cut first slice of the 50th anniversary cake at the New London Community Complex.

Anne Clark, with her son Alex, at the New London Community Complex banquet honoring participants in the 50-year-old Bedford-Kensington hockey exchange. Alex is a player on the Kensington team.

From left, Genevieve Raymond, from Bedford, the mother of tournament player Justin, and Kensington residents Trevor and Trudy Moase, whose son Brandan plays for the home team. Trevor is the assistant coach of the Kensington team.

Kensington and Bedford players, young and old, lined up to slice the 50th anniversary cake at a banquet celebrating the world’s longest-running hockey exchange.