Charity makes ‘final gift’ to Aldergrove fire victims

Aldergrove Royal Purple disbands after more than 70 years service

A 70 year old community service organization came to an end this week in Aldergrove, but not before making one final contribution to those in need.

A final gift from the Aldergrove Royal Purple was made to the two Aldergrove couples who lost everything when their townhomes were destroyed in an explosion and fire on Sept. 13.

The Aldergrove Royal Purple was once a major force in Aldergrove but in recent years — especially since it became a separate organization from the Aldergrove Elks Lodge three years ago — its membership has dwindled to about a dozen women. And due to advanced age, many of these remaining members are no longer active members.

One of the founding members, Elsie Beggs remains an active member but at age 98 she is limited in what she can do these days.

For this reason, longtime Royal Purple ladies Kella Taylor and Marguerite Sawatsky told The Aldergrove Star this week that the membership wound the organization down and closed its charitable status and bank account.

However, the Fraser Valley Rock and Gem Club had asked the Royal Purple ladies to run the tea and lunch service at the OAP Hall for the club’s annual show last weekend. This has been a tradition for the past 50 years, and it generated some extra funds for the Royal Purple, so the ladies decided that the funds should be shared by the two Aldergrove couples who were left homeless when a neighbour’s drug lab exploded and set fire to their townhouse units.

“We had about $500 left in our bank account and both Kiersten Dueck and Candace Muller were given cheques from the Royal Purple to help them with expenses while they wait for everything to get sorted out at their townhouses,” said Taylor.

“I understand the restoration company began work yesterday, but the couples have not been given access to their homes at all and have no idea what can be salvaged. It will be a long process and meanwhile both couples are staying with friends in Abbotsford.

“Each couple received just over $250 each from us to help with expenses, even if it’s just to buy socks and underwear and that sort of thing. Both Kiersten and Candace were very happy to receive our help,” said Taylor.

Even if the donation was a modest amount, the Royal Purple ladies are pleased to leave on a high note.

“We hope to get together socially in future but the fun we used to have with formal inter-lodge meetings is no longer there,” said Taylor. “Some of us are using walkers, and we just can’t do many of the things we used to do.”

Taylor said that the Aldergrove Legion branch had been very generous to the Royal Purple in recent years, allowing the members to meet twice a month at the Legion Hall, and continue their 73 year tradition of charitable works in the community.

“The Legion has been phenomenal to us. We want to give our Royal Purple history books, dating back to 1944, to the Aldergrove Heritage Society for safekeeping, so that our story is not lost.”

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