Long-standing Chemainus tradition continues with Fyffe dinner

Volunteers and donations help put food on the table for Christmas, Boxing Day

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Chemainus, thanks to the legacy left by Jean and Willie Fyffe.

A Christmas tradition started by the Fyffes dating back more than three decades is being maintained in their honour with a turkey dinner and all the trimmings available at the Chemainus Legion Hall on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“Anyone can come,” said Esther Craig. “We’ve encouraged the people that are alone.”

The event was originally held in the old seniors centre before Jean moved it to the Legion in 2007 after Willie died. Craig has coordinated the community effort since Jean died in 2012 and “I’d been helping her for a number of years before that,” she said.

It’s truly a labour of love for those who work so hard to put it on and a great way for residents to share some camaraderie.

“We average between 80 and 100 (people),” noted Craig. “The same on Boxing Day. The odd time on Boxing Day, it’s down.”

Craig stressed the use of the Legion Hall as the venue does not mean it is a Legion function.

The doors open at noon and the dinner is served around 1 p.m.

“That means I’ve a really early morning putting those turkeys in,” Craig indicated.

Publicity has revolved around the senior centres in Chemainus, Crofton and Ladysmith and Craig said posters started going up around town on Dec. 13.

“Hopefully, we’ve got it covered,” she added.

People are encouraged to bring along a side dish or dessert if they’d like or other pot luck type items, but otherwise the full meal deal is covered, including turkey and ham, potatoes and gravy and Brussels sprouts. Sometimes, carrots are available, too.

Since it’s also a social occasion, it doesn’t have to end as soon as dinner is over.

“If people want to hang around and play games and play cards, we do that, too,” Craig invited.

The Fyffes would be proud to know their vision for bringing people together on Christmas, including many who don’t have any family members or friends to share the occasion with, is still making the yuletide just a little brighter in a special way.

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