Bequest from longtime resident brings Duncan’s Cairnsmore garden to life [photos]

An enthusiastic group gathered at Cairnsmore Place extended care hospital Wednesday, April 29 to celebrate the generosity of a special woman: Melbe Schappert.

A former president and longtime member of the Auxiliary to the Cowichan District Hospital, she was born and died in the facility that sits at the top of what is called Hospital Hill in Duncan, leaving a bequest of $60,000 to the facility that her auxiliary friends have spent on renovating the back garden.

It’s become a real oasis for the residents there, offering lots of places to sit, easy access for everyone and even covered gazebos for showery days.

Cairnsmore Director Gail Kerrone, who cut the ribbon to open the beautiful spot said, "This used to be all grass, and a bit of an old sidewalk with a challenging door coming in and out. Now, it’s really easy to get in an out of and they’ve cemented from the door all the way down, and put in that gazebo and all

these benches, the plants, the raised bed here, the garden shed. They’ve got the lights in the gardens, the timers for the watering. It’s all so beautiful."

The garden club that comes every week to Cairnsmore has promised to maintain the space, too, she said, which ensures it will continue long into the future.

"They’ve created such a transformation. Yesterday one of our people was sitting out here under the gazebo, all wrapped up in a blanket. When I asked if he was warm enough, he said, ‘Oh, gosh, yeah. I love to sit out here for at least an hour a day, getting fresh air.’" Before the ribbon cutting, the Auxiliary president Claire Wessan said the group has worked on the project for a long time and are now delighted to see how "it’s getting to be a really well established garden. It’s just beautiful. I know the staff are happy with it and the residents are just going to love it."

Schappert was worth the naming the garden after, she said. "We wanted it to be a wonderful tribute to her because of her

love of gardens. We’ve placed this plaque here. We want to remember Melbe for her time on this earth and we’re dedicating this garden to her."

Auxiliary member Marg Berikoff knew Schappert personally. "Melbe was one person that was born in Duncan, right here when it was the old King’s Daughters Hospital. She lived on Beech Avenue for 42 years making her home there. I helped clean it out when she went to Wedgwood House and then I helped clean that out when she came back here for her final time," Berikoff said.

"She was a wonderful gardener. Melbe could make absolutely anything grow. And she would go on trips around the world and come back with her purse full of bits and pieces that she would start up. Then she’d get them growing in her yard and she’d share them with the garden club. She was a great gal and a great friend.

"She joined our auxiliary about 1973 or 1974. She was our president and I followed her as president and so we became great friends over the years."

Just Posted

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

The former St. Joseph’s School site will remain an art studio at least into early next year. It will take some time before being converted to an addictions recovery community. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Addiction recovery facility will be all about building community together

Society on a clear path with members’ experiences to provide valuable help

Seniors in the Cowichan Valley are being moved into the new Hamlets. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
New Hamlets in Duncan admitting seniors

Residential-care facility has 88 beds

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
Arrests continue to mount at Fairy Creek as protesters complain about RCMP tactics

Number of arrests approach 200 in ongoing southern Vancouver Island logging protest

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read