Shirley Higgins, left, with Mark Ketler, general manager of Regency Parkwood Retirement Resort. The Schubert Centre received a cheque for more than $2,000 from retirement resort as well as $10,000 from a former member of the centre on Thursday, Feb. 27. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Big contributions for Vernon’s Schubert Centre

Former member of the centre donated $10,000 while Regency Parkwood donated more than $2,000

The weather is warming up, but the Schubert Centre still needs a new furnace.

Fortunately, More than $12,000 in donations were announced at the Vernon senior centre’s monthly birthday lunch Thursday, Feb. 27.

The biggest contribution came from not from an organization or a furnace fundraiser, but from one former member for whom the centre meant a great deal.

Lois Merrifield donated $10,000 of her own money towards the estimated $130,000 needed for the new furnace.

The 91-year-old is currently living in palliative care and couldn’t attend the lunch, but her daughter Nina Bates and husband Wilbur Bates were there to bestow the cheque on her behalf.

“My mom was very frugal — is very frugal,” Bates said, emotions taking hold of her voice for a moment. “And because of her frugality, she was able to make a sizable contribution to this place.”

Bates explained her mother lived all her life on basic income as a farmer, and having moved to Vernon four years ago she found a home among the seniors who frequent the Schubert Centre.

READ MORE: Vernon retirement resort serving up support for Schubert Centre

READ MORE: Brother and sister thrive with Silver Star ski program

“She loved to dance,” Bates said, “and so she came to the Schubert Centre and the singing that was on Tuesday morning, Sing For Your Life.”

Bates said her mother made the donation for two reasons: “One of them is because of the value of the Schubert Centre and the value it puts on senior citizens here.

“The other reason… so that people would step up to the plate and contribute as well, to keep a place like this operating, because it is important.

Neither Merrifield nor the Bates family wanted any recognition for the donation — Bates had even hoped to avoid announcing the total amount of the contribution. When she did upon request, the lunch crowd burst into applause.

In addition, more than $2,000 was given to the centre by Regency Parkwood Retirement Home, which hosted a turkey lunch Sunday, Feb. 23, as a special fundraiser for the centre. General manager Mark Ketler said more than 170 people attended.

“That’s about double what we were hoping (to raise), so that’s amazing,” Ketler said.

Regency Parkwood has already chipped into the ongoing furnace fund, having donated $5,000 in January.

Upcoming fundraisers include an event with Patricia Neil Lawton on Friday, May 1, and a M.A.S.H. Bash dinner and dance on Saturday, May 30. Stay tuned for more information on future ways to support the Schubert Centre.

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon women spending quarantine making masks

Group at Predator Ridge, and a colleague in Vernon, keeping busy making surgical masks for others

Second million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Vernon

Same thing happened on March 7; somebody won Guaranteed Match Number prize

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

WATCH: Coldstream producer treats neighbours to live music from safe distance

Neighbours practiced social distancing as Jeff Johnson played songs from his front steps

Sparkling Hill Resort donates produce to Vernon food bank, gloves to hospital

Operating manager says layoffs resulted in spare materials that are much needed amid COVID-19

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

No hesitation; two bystanders assist in South Okanagan house fire rescue

“I’d do it for anybody,” says Penticton man after assisting in house fire rescue

Summerland churches go online during COVID-19 pandemic

Livestream services, online support provided to congregations and community

Fur Brigade Trail was transportation route in Okanagan Valley

Transportation corridor passed through Nicola Prairie, now Summerland

RCMP, firefighters rally in support for health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters Saturday night

Most Read