Northumberland-South Durham Branch News

Northumberland-South Durham

60th Anniversary

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Welcome to Northumberland South Durham Branch!

We are approximately sixty vibrant, retired women teachers, who are committed to RWTO as a vehicle of choice for their activities today.  We have three meetings a year in Spring (May), Fall (September), and Winter December). Connection, Consideration, and Community are three key words that I feel describe our vision and activities, with ‘fun’ being a key element of everything that we do. We wouldn’t want it any other way!   As part of Area 7, our Branch follows the route of Lake Ontario from Oshawa (south), through Courtice, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Port Hope, Cobourg, and Brighton, right up to the boundaries of Trenton, Belleville, and Peterborough.  Since 1956 when we were first formed, our Branch diligently recalls the visionary quest of our first RWTO group, as they voted to affirm our need for ‘caring and sharing,’ pensions, fun and fellowship.

In 2016, we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of RWTO. It was a sell-out success!  Within the venue of a Victorian tea, we incorporated our theme, “Past, Present, and Future, Following the Yellow Brick Road” as based on the Wizard of Oz musical. Music, food, historical dress, exceptional decorations, archival displays, special guests and speakers, added up to an exemplary event. The returning comment from the Executive meeting was, “Can we do more of this?”

Canada’s 150th Celebration

At our fall meeting on September 27, 2017 we celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday in style. Members were asked to wear red and white. Our branch’s choir, under the direction of Vicki Cubitt and Bunny Wright, met on several occasions to prepare a selection of Canadian music. Songs including “Land of the Silver Birch”, “They All Call It Canada”, “Alouette”, and “Something to Sing About” were sung with gusto to celebrate our sesquicentennial year. The highlight of our meeting was a fashion show produced by Lynne Templar and Dawn Waters, from the Northumberland Players in Cobourg. These ladies spoke to us about fashion across the decades, and then moderated the outfits that were worn by members of our branch. The ladies strutted their stuff on the “runway” with flair! We all truly felt what it means to be Canadian, eh?

Our Branch believes and acts on the principles associated with Connection, Community and Consideration in terms of their RWTO commitment. If you wish, do drop in for a meeting as our invited guest.  We would love to have you!

Please check the tabs above for information with regards to the date, time and location of our meetings.  Our contact information is also given. We welcome you and look forward to hearing from you.



PresidentJulia Esford
Past-PresidentJan Engel
1st Vice-PresidentVacant
2nd Vice-PresidentBonnie Brown
SecretaryLynne Snee
TreasurerSandra Nolte

Please note: If you wish to contact anyone on these lists, please contact Julia Esford, President using the following e-mail,


ArchivesBarbara Moorcroft
Sandra Boyko
Joan Smith
MembershipJoan Putnam
InsuranceAstrida Chalmers
MusicVicki Cubitt
CommunicationLynne Snee
WebsiteLynne Snee
Jan Engel
Goodwill EastAstrida Chalmers
Goodwill CentralShirley Stewart
Shirley Minifie
Goodwill WestVicki Cubitt
Table FavoursBunny Wright
TelephoneJan Engel
Bonnie Brown

Edwardian Tea at the Bowmanville Museum 2019

This past summer, some of our members attended an Edwardian Tea that was held at the Bowmanville Museum. The weather was beautiful, the food delicious. A memorable time of fellowship and fun was had by all.

Canada’s 150th Celebration

September 27th the Meeting at St. Andrew’s

United Church, Grafton



This is Billie Kemp, one of our oldest members

who attends every meeting.




President Jan Engel honours Billie Kemp with flowers on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Our branch choir entertains members with traditional Canadian folksongs in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Vicki Cubitt directs the choir and is assisted by Bunny Wright playing the drum, and other choir members.

Verna Templer enjoys listening to the choir.

Verna Templer’s daughter Lynn Templer (curator), narrates a presentation of historical costumes from the Northumberland Players Archives in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary. The fashion show was an outstanding success and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Thank to Lynn and her assistants as well as models from our own membership.  It was an awesome presentation as the following pictures attest!  


These photos represent the variety and beauty of clothes that Canadian women
wore over the past 150 years. Thanks to our models!

Edwardian Tea at the Bowmanville Museum

Last summer, some of our members attended an Edwardian Tea that was held at the Bowmanville Museum. The weather was beautiful, the food delicious. A memorable time of fellowship and fun was had by all.

Upcoming Events 2019-2020

 Wednesday, September 25th, 2019
Fall Meeting
Grafton United Church
Thursday, December 5th, 2019
Christmas Meeting
St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church
Port Hope, ON
Tuesday April 28th, 2020
Spring Meeting
 Location: Northminster United Church in Oshawa.


Ongoing Group Activites

Breakfast Club

A casual, informal get together every third Thursday of the month at Traditions Restaurant, 1053 Simcoe Road, North, Oshawa. There is no business conducted – just visiting, caring and sharing!

Contact Vicki Cubitt at

Archivist Team

The group continues to meet on a regular basis working at putting together an archival binder for our branch. For more information, please contact:

Barbara Moorcroft (Chair) at


Sandra Boyko at

New Members 2019



Jan Engel introduces Sandra Note, a new member, to the NSD group. Welcome Sandra!


Cora Bailey Award 2019

President Jan Engel presents Linda Hansen with the Cora Bailey Award for 2019. Congratulations Linda!

Cora Bailey Award 2018

President Jan Engel presents Joan Putnam with the Cora Bailey Award for 2018.



At our 2019 fall meeting, Past-President Jan Engel presided over a moving In Memoriam Service for Marilyn Elliot, who passed away August 15th, at the age of 86.  She lit a candle in memory of Marilyn and the other members who we have lost in the past few years.

Barbara Moorcroft spoke about Marilyn. She recounted how Marilyn invited her to attend her first branch meeting following her retirement, and called her quite regularly. Marilyn was involved in the early days of our branch. She attended meetings regularly and acted as treasurer for five years. She helped out in any way that she could, whenever she could. What she believed in, she believed in quite strongly.

Marilyn was married in 1956 and moved to Port Hope with her husband in 1957, where they lived in the same home for sixty years. She taught at Howard Jordan Public School (now the site of Ganaraska Trail Public School), until the birth of their first child, a daughter, in 1963. Two more daughters would follow. Marilyn returned to teaching in 1974 and continued to advance her qualifications in the areas of special education, the arts and library science. Marilyn was an artist and loved books. She had a desire to teach every child to have a love of reading and an interest in exploring books. Marilyn retired in 1996, and the following year she was presented with the “Leader in Learning” award by the Northumberland-Clarington Board of Education, in recognition of her exceptional dedication.

In retirement, Marilyn found the time to enjoy her hobbies which included photography, reading, art and handicrafts, and curling. She cherished her two cats, Charlie and Magu. She was active in the historical community of Port Hope and was a member of Dorothy’s House. In 2006 Marilyn received a ten-year service award from the Municipality for her volunteer dedication.

Barbara closed her remarks by saying, “To Marilyn we say: We honour your memory, and thank you for your dedication.”

Our service concluded with the singing of “Flying Free” (Don Besig), performed by Vicki Cubitt on piano, and Bunny Wright on vocals. As a very special note, as Bunny was singing, a monarch chrysalis (in a butterfly mesh house that one of our members had brought for our meeting), hatched. It gave all of us chills, as we remembered a life well-lived and celebrated a new one.