Honorary Membership Awards
The honorary Lifetime Award is an award that is awarded to our longtime and dedicated volunteers and founders of our SPCA Branches. We are very excited and proud to give this award to the following people for 2016.
For 2017, we will have another four people whom deserve this award and will be presented at our Annual General Meeting.
Marguerite Lawrence was a war bride. She was born in Waterford, Ireland and grew up on a farm surrounded by animals. She attributed her her life-long concern for animal welfare to those early years and to her parents. She was a nurse, by profession, and was often called upon to help sick neighbours and sick animals. In 1965, she was one of a group that tried to start an SPCA in Corner Brook, but due to a lack of support, they folded. In 1979, after the death of her husband, she became involved with the SPCA, once again.
In those early years, before they had a shelter, she and other volunteers provided and found foster homes for abandoned animals. She served as the vice-president, treasurer and secretary for the SPCA. In her later years, due to health related issues, she did the phone work – a job she took very seriously, to which family members can attest, as they always got a busy signal when trying to reach her. She was a great advocate of spaying and neutering and often was known to pay vet costs for those who loved their pets but could not afford the procedure. These people and many others became what she called her “SPCA phone friends”and many kept in touch with her over the years. Some she never met but only knew through her phone work. Marguerite died at the age of 90 in 2009, but her passion for animals lives on in her children.
Evelyn Hancock is a founding member of the Bay of Islands SPCA. Her dedication to helping homeless animals covers a period of 35 years. While she was involved, her name was synonymous with the SPCA on the west coast. As a special constable and shelter manager, she was responsible for rescuing thousands of animals from lives of neglect and abuse. Evelyn lives in Irishtown and the SPCA shelter is in Curling – a short distance by boat, but an long distance by car. She was at the shelter almost every day and spent a great deal of money on gas – all from her own pocket. She is pleased to become an honorary member of SPCA NL. When told she was to be given this award she said she was honoured to have her name in the same category as Marguerite Lawrence, whom she worked with and respected greatly. Evelyn continues to work with animals. She boards them now, at her home, and her clients love to visit with her. She also has a variety of her own animals including a pet crow named Gus, who has been with her for 17 years. For her many years of serving with the SPCA, she is truly deserving of this award.
John Holmes arrived in Newfoundland from England with a London Threatrical Group. He fell in love with the area and decided to stay. He was a lover of all animals with is own menagerie and was soon involved with the provincial SPCA where he served many years as secretary up till the time of is death. John also compiled a running history of the SPCA in our province. Wherever that history is today it should be preserved because it is John’s legacy but also such an important part of the history of animal welfare in our province.
Hilda Smith came with her husband from Montreal and they both worked as professors at MUN. She settled in St. John’s and raised her family there. Hilda lectured in botany but her true love was animals. She was instrumental in the founding of the provincial SPCA, serving for many years as its president. Hilda was a gentle kind person and a genuine lady.
Debbie Powers was a founding member of the Provincial SPCA and was also instrumental in working with government to establish the Special Constables responsible for investigations and enforcing the provincial animal act that was in place at the time. She did most of the investigations into complaints received in the area of the Avalon and was tireless in her efforts to reduce animal suffering. Debbie served as shelter director for the St.John’s shelter for close to forty years. She was also the main mentor to fledgling branches that started to open around the province. Her contribution to animal welfare has been recognized by the city of St. John’s, and the St. John’s Rotary Club. She received awards from the YWCA, and was named by the province as Woman of the Year. She was given the Order of Canada for her work with animals and also received the Frederick A. MCGrand Award from the Canadian Federation of Humane Society for her contribution to animal welfare in our province. Debbie also makes the best chocolate chip cookies, a fact all of the more seasoned SPCA members can attest to.