2009 Vancouver Branch AwardsL-R Chair Ed Wagstaff, Al Hughes, Helen Hughes, Maureen Hood, Maureen Lyon, and Vice-Chair Paul Lowe

At the Love to Dance workshop dance in February 2009, Board Chair Ed Wagstaff presented the 2009 Branch Awards.

Helen and Al Hughes have been familiar figures at Branch events for many years. On any occasion where money needs taking, tickets given out or collected, even assisting at the bar, they are invariably there. Often the first two people you see when coming in the door are Helen at the ticket desk and Al selling bar tickets. They have been involved in the Vancouver area Scottish country dancing scene since 1970 when Helen joined the Carisbrooke group in North Vancouver. She was elected Treasurer in 1978 and took over as Chairperson in 1991. Although a ballroom dancer, Al never did Scottish country dance but, as usual, was there in a helping capacity. Helen now dances with Gleneagles on Wednesdays. She is also Treasurer for the Children’s group. If there are Branch workshops or special events, Helen and Al are there. Al, while not a registered member of the Branch, is nonetheless very much part of it. Apart from his previously mentioned activities, he buys older postages stamps at less than face value and applies these to the envelopes for the mailing of the White Cockade, the Branch newsletter. For at least the last thirteen years, the Hughes have been responsible for mailing out all our White Cockade newsletters. People like Helen and Al Hughes are the reliable backbone of the Branch and truly deserve the recognition conveyed by a Branch Award.

Maureen Hood is a worthy recipient for a Branch Award. Maureen runs the Children’s Dancing Program, which is under the umbrella of the Branch, and also chairs the Children’s Committee. The children’s dancing takes place through the North Vancouver Recreation Centre and registers children from ages seven upwards. There are three levels of classes, Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. Maureen organizes the teachers and helpers for these classes each Saturday morning and also teaches herself. Maureen has done this for the past twenty years. The Delbrook Dancers, as the group is named, perform demonstrations for the North Shore Community and further afield. The outfits that the children wear for the various demonstrations and the liaison with the coordinators at the venues are all expertly organized by Maureen. The Children’s Workshop and an afternoon dance are held at Easter which involves Maureen securing teachers for the three different levels and the parents’ classes. She is also instrumental in arranging the Christmas party each year for the children and their parents. She instils a love of dancing in the girls with her enthusiasm and dedication. Many of the girls have started at age seven and continued throughout their school years. Maureen also teaches classes for Senior Citizens through the West Vancouver Seniors’ Centre, and these classes are thoroughly enjoyed by the seniors. She also arranges dems with the Seniors’ Scottish Country Dancing Dem Team who perform in nursing homes and day care centres all over Vancouver.

Maureen Lyon has given outstanding service to Scottish Country Dancing in Vancouver. Her dedication to bringing Scottish Country Dancing to this community by leading and teaching at the White Rock club has been outstanding and has been continuous over a period of at least twenty years. She does not seek the limelight but steadily and steadfastly ensures that Scottish Country Dancing is alive and well in White Rock by regularly teaching at the club and by organizing socials, dances and workshops there throughout the year. In addition to being so involved with the White Rock club, Maureen organized a Scottish Country Dance demonstration group known as the Heather Belles in the early 1980s and this group performed at Expo 86. The Heather Belles was later transformed into the Tam O’ Shanter Dancers, a group which continues to this day. It has toured abroad four times and gives performances many times during each year bringing much enjoyment of Scottish country dancing to its audiences. The Tam O’ Shanter Dancers in association with the Gaelic Club of Vancouver organize a Burns Supper each year in White Rock which is usually sold out and is attended by about 300 people. Although Maureen’s principal emphasis relative to Scottish Country Dancing has been in the White Rock area of Vancouver, she often attends events organized by the Vancouver Branch. She has also been a guest teacher at workshops for other clubs.

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