The Maples Society, a historic rural Virden women’s group, recently contributed to a diagnostic device for use at Virden Health Centre.
Down to a handful of members in recent years, the Maples dispersed the last of their funds to the Butterfly IQ device (see Pg. 2, Jan. 8 issue). This, along with several other donors, completed the payment on the portable ultra sound device.
Irene Clarke, secretary-treasurer for Maples said the group supported philanthropy over the years with donations to Virden and District Health Auxiliary, Palliative Care, a Virden Junior Highschool scholarship, and helping individuals in crisis, as funds allowed.
Until this year with COVID restrictions, the Maples regularly held a Christmas get together including their partners at a Virden restaurant followed by games at Nora Gerrand’s.
“The last of our funds was dispersed in December 2020, but we still hope to get together from time to time,” said Clarke.
Clarke provides Maples’ history:
The Maples District is located just south of Virden. The Maples Patriotic Society was formed in 1939 when a group of women met to pack parcels for the young men in the services.
Members were: Mrs. J. Chapman, Mrs. G. Gilles, Mrs. Reid Horn, Mrs. W. Pangborn, Mrs. Roy Horn, Mrs. C. Mair, Mrs. P. Starmore, Mrs. M. Wardman, Mrs. A. Nicol, Mrs. Willoghby, Mrs. E. Rainey, Mrs. K. Cappie, Miss M. Chapman, Miss H. Johnson, Mrs. D. Wilton, Mrs. R. Chapman, Mrs. L Robbins, Mrs. F. Parsons, Mrs. J. Gabrielle, Mrs. C. Chapman, Mrs. R. Gerrand, Mrs. A. Lawrence, Mrs. C.P.M. Francis and Mrs. J. Haynes.
Several women joined later and took part in this and many other projects. Among these women were Linda Daniels, Karleen Chapman, Ethel Greenley, Muriel Hauk, Grace Hauk and Viny Creller.
At the war’s end with the work no longer needed, the name was changed to The Mapes Young Peoples Society and many young couples took part in the community gatherings. However, as time went on and the members realized they were no longer young people, the name was changed to The Maples Society, which has remained.
When the 50th anniversary was celebrated in 1989, the membership included Nan Clarke, Margaret Gee, Karleen Chapman, Ethel Bowles, Grace Hauk, Muriel Horn, Ann Chapman, Anna Levins, Gladys Gerrand, Nora Gerrand, Karen Manser, Betty Chapman, Myrna Chapman, Joy Barkley, Bella Sproule, Marlene Chapman and Shirley Rudneski.
For many years, tea and bake sales were held in November. However, with a declining membership, it was no longer possible to carry on this traditional fundraising, so it was decided in 2006 to hold an annual noon luncheon in May. Our last one being in 2013.
In 2014, there were only seven remaining members: Nora Gerrand, Betty Chapman, Myrna Chapman, Margaret Gee, Shirley Rudneski, Nola Webb and Irene Clarke.
We remain grateful to everyone who helped us over the years with the tea and bake sales and the noon luncheons. Community support over the years enabled us to give to various charities and organizations and local needs.
On May 15, 2015 we celebrated our 75th Anniversary with a tea held at the Lions Hall. Special invitations were given to eight former members and three ladies who helped us with our noon luncheons. We were delighted to have had so many come out and help us celebrate.