CV Carnival Patron Lydwena MacArthur
By Jaymie White
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
CODROY VALLEY — Every Codroy Valley Winter Carnival chooses an official patron, someone who has shown strong community involvement, and for the 2023 festivities that choice is Lydwena MacArthur.
MacArthur has worked as the administrative assistant with St. Ann’s Parish for the past 27 years, and has dedicated years of her life to the very same community where she was born and raised, married, and raised her own children.
“In 1989 my parents were honorary patrons, so it felt really, really good to be chosen,” said MacArthur. “My parents were very much involved in their community, as I am. You’re announced and introduced at the opening night, and attend all the events, which I normally do anyway. I’ve been involved with the Winter Carnival for a good many years, the volunteer part, so it’s really an honour.”
MacArthur looks forward to the social part of the carnival events.
“Playing cards and socializing,” said MacArthur. “I love the fellowship. You see people that you haven’t seen since last Winter Carnival. I just love seeing all the people, meeting everybody, the fellowship of it all.”
MacArthur has never really wanted to leave the area.
“I just loved it here and my husband and I had work here. I think it’s a wonderful place to raise children because it’s not rushy. Well, when you have three kids and they’re in all the sports it’s rushy, but it’s a nice place to live.”
Living in the Valley for as long as she has means MacArthur has seen many changes over the years.
“We have less businesses, more people, which is great, but one time you knew everybody and now you don’t. There’s not as many young people, not as many children. It’s been gradual. As children graduated they moved away. There’s no work here for them, so they had to move. That’s why I kept my job here and I stayed.”
The changes in the community aren’t just within the demographics, but the volunteer landscape as well.
“People don’t volunteer now like they used to. If you ask, definitely there are some people. Sometimes they need to be asked. Maybe they feel like they aren’t needed or something like that. It’s nothing at all against the people, just that maybe we aren’t asking.”
MacArthur has volunteered since she was a young girl.
“When I was young I used to help my mother volunteer with catering at St. Ann’s Guild. I think I was probably 12 when I started that,” said MacArthur. “I’m also an officer, a captain in the 3023 Codroy Valley Cadet Corps for the last 26 years. My three kids were in cadets and, when I saw what cadets did for them, I wanted to help other children have the same opportunities. I was asked to volunteer for one year, and this is 26 years later.”
Even though she loves working with the cadets, it’s something MacArthur will have to step away from this year.
“I love the outings. I love helping them, but I have to get out this year. I have to leave because I’m turning 65 and you can’t stay in past 65, but I can go back as a volunteer, but you age out at 65,” said MacArthur.
MacArthur's volunteer work doesn’t end with cadets.
“I’m secretary-treasurer for St. Ann’s Guild. I work at their bingos and cards. I’m a board member on the Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Centre Foundation. I help run the Codroy Valley Toonie Toss. I assist the fire department with their photocopying, catering. My past services were the Belanger Breakfast Program, the Codroy Valley Lionettes Club where I held all the positions, Codroy Valley Brownies, Codroy Valley Library, Chase the Ace and Come Home Year, and I sold Avon and headstones in between all of that,” said MacArthur. “I’m always keeping myself busy. I do my fair share. I love helping people. I do. I like socializing, I like meeting people."
Frank Aucoin, Deputy Grand Knight with P.J. Cooney Knights of Columbus said it was an easy choice to select Lydwena for patron of the this year's winter carnival.
“Lydwena goes above and beyond to assist any organization within the community who needs help with scheduling, typing, et cetera, especially the P.J. Cooney Knights of Columbus, Winter Carnival, the Folk Festival, and the Come Home Year,” said Aucoin. “P.J. Cooney runs our Winter Carnival and at our meeting it was suggested that Lydwena be our patron for this year. For those reasons I described, because she is always helping us in every way (that) we need help. “
Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News