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Mariners' Service, Prince Edward County

Picton Gazette
August 14, 1974

Museum building official opening highlights annual Mariners' Service

The official opening of the new museum building formed part of the annual Mariners' Service held Sunday at South Bay.

The service was held before an overflow crowd at South Bay United Church with the address Given by Rev. Stephen Spurrell, of Picton.

"Men who follow the sea can never get away from its haunting lure and captivating power," he said, "this service is to pay tribute to men past and present who have sailed the lakes in order to wrest a living and to those in the war years who contributed their services – this service is a tribute to their memories."

Rev. Stephen Spurrell addresses a full house at South Bay United Church
during the annual Mariners' Service on Sunday. Click for enlargement.

The sea has two moods, he said, pleasant and angry. "In its pleasant mood it is a highway between the continents, before air travel the commerce of the world was dependent on the seas. In its angry mood it is feared alike by experienced men and novices."

Rev. Spurrell, speaking of the opening of the museum building, said "We all have a past and the reason we are here today is that we have a past of which we are justifiably proud."

He said the museum was a reminder to us of the great heritage that is ours, "and how much we owe them as we look back to the past of their toils and labors."

Phil Dodds. chairman of the South Marysburgh Marine Society introduced the distinguished guests at the service including a number of captains. He said Capt. Jack Buchanen of Belleville had sailed for almost 50 years and bad never missed a Mariners Service. The services started in Cherry Valley in 1927 and lapsed in 1970. They were restarted at South Bay and this year's is the fifth of the new series. [Editor's note: the first Mariner's service was in fact held in 1923 – see the third paragraph here. And we will try and elucudate 'fifth . . .']

He paid tribute to the many persons who had contributed work to the society. "When you haven't much money there is only one substitute, a lot of free labor; and many really worked hard – provided countless hours."

Mr. Dodds said more than 100 persons have donated or loaned marine artifacts to the museum. The In Memoriam wa given by past chairman Allan Railey, the invocation and benediction by Rev. W. Neelands and prayers by Rev. W. Neelands.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, William Kettlewell, of Black Creek held one end and Capt. Keith Daubney the other end while marine historian Willis Metcalfe cut it. Mr. Kettlewell. an artist. designed – the museum building on a ship loft principle and also made and donated the copper weathervane shaped as a sailing ship.

Following the ribbon-cutting Babe Ford of Milford turned the key in the door. Also taking part in the ceremonie were Sterling Grimmond, Phil Dodds, James Taylor, MPP, Prince Edward Lennox, Warden Keith MacDonald and South Marysburgh Reeve Clifford Walker.

Mr. Taylor expressed admiration at the "tremendous job" carried out by so many volunteer people in creating the park and museum. He said a great deal of imagination had been used and he paid particular tribute to Mr. Kettlewell for his imagination and skill in designing the museum building. He predicted the marine museum would "become 'second-to-none' within a few years."

With permission, the Picton Gazette


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