If it wasn’t for men and women like Francis Dewtie, the Ivor MacDonald Memorial Rink wouldn’t exist.
Francis Dewtie, centre, was honoured for his commitment to his community by county councillor Randy Palmer, left, and former councillor Wayne Buttle, right. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS
County councillor Randy Palmer and former councillor Wayne Buttle recently presented a certificate to Dewtie thanking him for his efforts in helping to build the Thorburn rink and promote recreation in District 13 as a past-president of the District 13 Recreation Planning Commission as well as his hours of volunteer work in the community including the East Pictou Rural Fair.
“He was instrumental in getting the funds for this,” Buttle said standing in front of the Thorburn rink. “There were other people but Francis stood out as far as I’m concerned,”
The commission started in 1971 and through all the fundraisers from dances to lobbying, Dewtie was involved. He says it was the naysayers who pushed him to prove it could be done.
“You can’t do this,” the older people told him. “The community is so small it would never survive.”
He and the others involved proved them wrong. In 1974 the rink was opened and in 1977 it was paid off. Since then it’s operated debt-free.
“It was quite a battle,” Dewtie said. “We had a hard go.”
But he said it was a great sense of accomplishment to see the facility open.
“We had a lot of really good workers who put a lot of effort into making this happen,” said Palmer who was a young hockey player at the time the rink opened.
“Without people like Francis this here would never happen,” he said.