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United Commercial Travellers Pictonian Council #879 celebrate 50 years

United Commercial Travellers, Pictonian Council #879 host fun bingo for clients from Summer Street as part of their ongoing activities. The Pictonian Council is celebrating its 50th anniversary this coming week with an open house on March 15.
United Commercial Travellers, Pictonian Council #879 host fun bingo for clients from Summer Street as part of their ongoing activities. The Pictonian Council is celebrating its 50th anniversary this coming week with an open house on March 15.

NEW GLASGOW Henry Walsh has been a member of what he calls the “best kept secret” in the county for the past 25 years.

As past president of the Pictonian Council #879 and later Atlantic regional president, Walsh has witnessed the good done by United Commercial Travellers, but said few people know of their contributions to the community.

As past president of the Pictonian Council #879 and later Atlantic regional president, Walsh has witnessed the good done by United Commercial Travellers, but said few people know of their contributions to the community.

“We are the best kept secret in Pictou County,” he said. “We are not as boastful as some other groups.”

As just one example, he said, over the course of 10 years, the UCT has donated $50,000 to the cancer patient program at the Aberdeen Hospital.

Iva Fraser-Campbell, outgoing president of the Pictonian Council, said UCT members know that organizations such as the Aberdeen Hospital are grateful for the financial support they receive, but giving back to their community supports its own UCT members as well as others because many of their lives are touched by cancer or other health issues.

“People helping people was the original motto and it has been that way since day one,” said Fraser-Campbell. “Now over the last few years, they changed it to get us more involved in the community and more people involved with UCT.”

Some of the projects the UCT has taken on recently include volunteering to fill the luminary bags for the Relay for Life, participating in the Curl for Cancer, supporting the Bikes for Kids program as well as continuing to support it as well as hosting a fishing derby and barbecue at LORDA.

“We have fun bingos for our Summer Street Industries clients,” said Walsh. “It’s a fun time. Last time we had close to 100 people participate. They enjoy it and we enjoy doing it.”

UCT continues to be major contributor to Summer Street Industries, raising more than $500,000 to construct a new building on the site for pre-vocational clients.

A large portion of fundraising is done through its televised bingo which Walsh helped start in 1998. It has produced $1.4 million in donations to the community.

“I feel like Santa Claus every time I go out and give cheques,” he said.

The Pictonian Council currently has about 200 members, with meetings held Sunday afternoons at the UCT building.

“We have members that are in their late 80s and some members are children of previous members,” Walsh said.

The Pictonian Council #879 is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an open house March 15 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the UCT Hall at Summer Street Industries. The public is invited to drop in and learn more about the organization that has made its mandate to help others.

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