Friends of Chatham event a big hit

The Friends of Chatham Gathering group held another successful fund raising event to benefit the Chatham-Kent Hospice. The group presented a cheque for more than $11,000 to the hospice following the March 11 event.

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The fellows behind the Friends of Chatham Gathering have done it again.

On March 11, Mike Dorner, Ray O’Phee and Howie Morton put on their fourth annual event raising nearly $12,000 for Chatham-Kent Hospice.

It was wall-to-wall people at the KBD, the organizers said, with people coming from far and wide to attend.

“It was busting at the seams,” O’Phee said.

The group of retirees all said they saw all kinds of people at the gathering – including many from their childhoods – some from as far back as 50 years.

“I’ve never shook so many hands, hugged so many people and kissed so many women,” O’Phee joked. 

“We never stopped moving,” Morton added, noting it was a busy night with plenty to do.

No admission was charged with donations to the hospice encouraged instead. Morton said some people didn’t come in to stay at the party, with a number of them just stopping to drop of money. Those who donated more than $20 were eligible to win a host of donated prizes, including a 72″ television from Denomys.

“There was a lot of interest in that,” Morton said, adding the group is extremely grateful to all who sponsored the event, including KBD president Fred Diericks.

“We have the greatest community,” he said. “They’re very giving.”

The idea behind the Friends of Chatham Gathering is to meet up with friends in the present – as opposed to gathering at funerals and wakes. The three hatched the plan after meeting up at the funeral of a friend.

Plus, raising money for hospice is a cause that hits home.

“Everybody in the building knows someone that’s gone through that grief,” O’Phee said. “The event and what it supports is a good marriage. After it’s all said and done, it gives you a good feeling. We’ve done something for hospice and for the community.”

The trio is already eyeing up prospects for year five and volunteers are welcome to join in.

“We’re looking for some young blood to come and assist,” O’Phee explained, considering the three “are getting up there.”

People interested in helping out in 2024 are invited to message the group on the Friends of Chatham Gathering Facebook page.


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