Retirement Living with @VicFoundation

Darwin Scott rehearses Yesterday at Government House I was introduced to Gordon Denford, the Victoria Foundation's Honorary Governor and the founder of Berwick Retirement Communities, with multiple locations - most on Vancouver Island. As part of Berwick's sponsorship of the Donor Tea, he'd arranged to have me do my presentation at Berwick's Royal Oak location. I have done the presentation for a few other retirement homes over the years and those occasions have proven to be treasure troves of stories as residents come up to chat following the presentation so I was very much looking forward to this event. But I'm not sure I was quite prepared for what I found on arriving at Berwick Royal Oak:
I was greeted at the main entrance by manager Debbie Macmurchie and lead down a grand corridor past a sumptuously appointed reading room, a small seminar room, a pub and billiards room and other amenities, down the staircase overlooking the dining room and buffet and into a small but well-appointed theatre. To be honest, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into a ski resort rather than a retirement home!

As I was getting set up, Debbie informed me that the guitar player on staff she'd lined up to play in the performance pocket had called in sick. Apart from it being a shame if the audience doesn't hear the guitar they've just spent an hour learning about come to life, it also creates a kind of awkward interruption in the flow of the presentation so I always insist we explore every possibility before going to Plan B. So Debbie set out and within 20 minutes or so had called her husband Rick Macmurchie to head over and deliver some Neil Young and located one of the servers from the dining room, Darwin Scott (pictured), who was seconded from his station to come and rehearse backstage before doing a great job playing at the end of the presentation.

Once again, the audience was tremendously attentive and appreciative and I had all kinds of folks coming up to chat and share stories after the presentation - a wonderful way to end a very full day in Victoria.

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