Edward Shawchuk

Fifty years of the Knights of Columbus in Campbell River

The Christmas Hamper drive is one of the Knights’ most long standing traditions

The Knights of Columbus in Campbell River have come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1963.

Its membership has grown from a handful of Knights to more than 100 members.

But their mission is still the same – to help the Catholic church and be a good community partner.

Earlier this month, on Nov. 2. the Knights of Columbus celebrated 50 years in Campbell River and helping the community.

The evening opened with a traditional piper in the St. Patrick’s church hall before the 180 attendees sat down to a dinner catered by the Royal Coachman.

Special guest Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, the former Bishop of Victoria who was recently appointed Archbishop of Winnipeg, gave a speech on peace and conflict resolution while Mayor Walter Jakeway spoke and proclaimed November and December Knights of Columbus Christmas Hamper Drive months.

The Hamper is one of the Knights’ most long standing traditions in Campbell River, dating back approximately 39 years. Last year, the Knights delivered more than 1,200 hampers to Campbell River families with each hamper worth more than $100.

The Knights also provide bursaries each year to high school students to pursue post secondary education as well as support the Perinatal Society, Birthright, Citizens on Patrol, the Campbell River food bank, the Meals on Wheels program, and local youth sports teams.

The Knights of Columbus chapter in Campbell River, officially known as the Bishop Hill Council, was the 5,468th council when it formed 50 years ago. Today, there are 15,832 councils in 14 countries around the world.

Danny Brown, one of the founding members of the Knights of Columbus, was on hand at the anniversary celebration to share some of his memories. Brown surprised everyone when he produced a marble that won a tournament between the Knights of Columbus and the Shrine Club that took place in 1966 on the sand at the Tyee Spit.

Brown presented the marble to current Shrine Club president Mark Donaldson. The moment was photographed to put the marble in the history books for the second time.

The evening wrapped up with an anniversary cake and closing prayer by St. Patrick’s Catholic Church’s new priest Father Jan Grotkowski.