On the 12 August, the wish for the clouds to part was happily granted. And so, under yet another beautiful blue sky, residents of the Placentia area and visitors alike enjoyed the Annual Tea Party hosted by the Placentia Area Historical Society (PAHS).
Held in the garden of the O’Reilly House Museum, the sound of laughter and conversation could be heard against the calm and quiet backdrop of music played effortlessly by Sarah Murphy on guitar. The afternoon began with the chair of the PAHS, Tom O’Keefe, welcoming everyone and introducing the programme for the afternoon. Mr. O’Keefe then invited the Placentia Bay Community Singers to centre stage where they gave both beautiful and melodious renditions of O Canada and the Ode to Newfoundland.
Following the music of the Community Singers, Retired Deputy Chief Gary Browne (Royal Newfoundland Constabulary) cut the celebratory cake. Mr. Browne is an accomplished author of books such as Forget-me-not: Fallen Boy Soldiers — Royal Newfoundland Regiment World War One.
As part of the Annual Tea Party, the PAHS takes the opportunity to give a Heritage Award to individuals or groups who have contributed to the history and heritage of the Placentia area in the past year. For 2012, the Heritage Award was given to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #33 of Placentia.
Through the committed efforts of the Legion, the medals of Lance-Corporal Martin Kent were repatriated, an action that was commemorated in a well-attended event held on the 5 June, 2011. In addition, through their diligent and determined research, all the names of the men — sons and brothers — inscribed on the World War One War Memorial at Sacred Heart Church in Placentia were identified. These men can now be more fully granted a rightful place of honour and respect in our hearts.
Without question, the PAHS annual tea party was an unquestionable success. As is often the case, the work of many hands came together to make it so. Therefore, the PAHS would like to thank the Placentia 350, Inc. for the people who helped to erect and remove the tent that was placed in the front garden. Likewise, a nod of thanks goes to Wayne Power for the sound system. Similar to previous years, Winnie Barry and the Festival of Flags could be counted on to lend their support in the setting up and organisation of the day. A thank you must also go to the students, Grant Payne and John Rose, the museum guides/interpreters who provided free tours to those who came to the tea party.
Finally, the PAHS extends an immense thank you to the people from both near and far for their willingness to attend and participate in the event. As the day came to a close, people slowly departed, the day firmly imprinted in their memories. Together, residents and visitors recognised and celebrated the importance and value of the people who have added to the brocade of history that enfolds the Placentia area.