Tucked away on Sunderland Road, in a quiet residential neighbourhood, the Gilbert Cade Memorial Hall sits ready and waiting for members of Langford’s 50 and Up Club.
President Roy Tennant, who has also taken on the role of head recruiter for the club at age 93, happily shows the visitor around the facility, which resembles a scout hall, with its low stage at one end and full kitchen on the side. In the black-and-white photographs that line the walls, past members are gathered for dinners and other special events held since the club began in 1954.
The 50 and Up Club hosts carpet bowling twice a week and cards on Wednesdays, as well as a potluck dinner once a month.
Most of its 25 members have reached retirement age and are available and willing to take part in daytime activities. Paralleling the situation faced by service clubs these days, however, the numbers are dwindling due to the moving on – or passing on – of members.
“I would like to see some younger blood in the club,” Tennant said. “Having some younger people might allow us to get something going in the evenings.”
While many years have gone by since he worked regularly, the longtime Langford resident fully understands people closer in age to the club’s name work full time and don’t have as much time to engage in recreational activities.
Tennant also happens to be a member – for the past 63 years – of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, a service club of sorts that is down to five or six active participants. The group, which has shared the Cade hall since 1973, meets the first and third Monday of the month and looks after maintenance of the building.
Almost as if marking their territory, a large buffalo head looks down upon visitors as they enter the hall, and a crossed pair of tusks are mounted on an ancient board around the R.A.O.B.’s charter.
“We help out wherever we can,” Tennant said of his longer-term club. They’ve donated to such charities as Santa’s Anonymous over the years, he added, and have undertaken such initiatives as trucking in sand for the Langford Lake beach and selling “buffalo burgers” at the old Langford Fair.
In appreciation of their help around the hall, the Buffaloes will be guests of honour at a special luncheon put on May 24 by the 50 and Up Club. The hope is that the latter, and maybe even the former, will have a few new members to join in the social celebration.
To find out more about the 50 and Up Club, or to be directed to a contact for the Buffaloes, call Tennant at 250-478-2113.