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Beiseker museum receives Queen's Platinum Jubilee grant for upcoming celebration

“Dress to impress and join us for a short program to commemorate her majesty’s life,” read a poster for the event.

The Beiseker Station Museum has announced a formal tea and an afternoon of themed entertainment to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and in honour of the recently passed monarch, on Oct. 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Beiseker Community Hall.

The event is being hosted thanks to a federal grant commemorating 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. According to a Government of Canada news release earlier this year, the monarch served as a "constant presence in the lives of many Canadians” and cultivated “enduring ties with Canada.”

The news release stated the $2.14 million in funding will go towards supporting 360 community events and three major national projects in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee across the country.  

“The funded initiatives will allow Canadians to learn more about the role of the Crown in Canada and to celebrate Canadian achievements over the past seven decades,” the release continued.

Various projects linked to the federal grant include community gatherings, gardens, tree planting, exhibitions, concerts, artistic performances, military parades, and educational activities across Canada.

Eighty-five-year-old Beiseker resident Leah Uffelman has been a member of the Beiseker Station Museum since its founding in 1982. She said one of the museum board members applied for the federal grant with the intention of bringing a Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration to the village.

“Then, of course, when [the Queen] passed away, we had to change our program and combined the Platinum Jubilee celebration with sadly, her memorial,” Uffelman said, adding word is spreading of the museum's upcoming event following the Queen’s passing at Balmoral Castle on Sept. 8.  

“We are getting a lot of response just by word of mouth to this occasion,” she said.

According to the octogenarian, people all over the world have respect for Queen Elizabeth II, who was Great Britain and the commonwealth nations’ longest reigning monarch.

“She has never let herself down, her family, or any of the citizens throughout her reign,” Uffelman said of the Queen’s legacy. “She has always been true to herself, to her promise, and to her family. She was very loyal and loyal to the countries [in the commonwealth]. People respect her from all over the world”

Uffelman added even Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was a well-respected royal.

“One thing that struck me very interested about [The Queen Mother] was that even Hitler made the statement she was the most dangerous and respected woman in Europe,” Uffelman said. “So I think she was killing [them] with kindness.”

She said her mother and grandfather were both introduced to the Queen Mother in 1939 when her grandfather served as an MLA for the now dissolved Alberta Social Credit Party.

“My grandmother was ill at the time, so my mother had the privilege of being his escort to Edmonton at the Macdonald Hotel to meet the king and queen,” Uffelman said of her ties to royalty.

“It’s a nice memory. [My mother] was introduced to the Queen and trained to curtsey to the Queen and bow to the King.”

Uffelman also had a brush with royalty when she was invited to attend a banquet at the Saddledome in Calgary where Queen Elizabeth II made an appearance in celebration of Alberta’s centennial in 2005. Uffelman said she attended the event as a guest of the Ralph Klein government.

“They put on a lovely program for her benefit and we were all invited to attend that,” she said. “It was held at the Stampede grounds and they piped her in. It was a nice ceremony in that it was interesting that she didn’t wear a hat and she had an afternoon dress on.

“She certainly never let herself down or any of the people that knew her. [She was] truly a great person.”

According to Uffelman, she has kept all of the invitations and royal paraphernalia from the events – they now serve as keepsakes that she treasures. She added her lunch with the Queen, and the memory of her mother’s meet-and-greet has reinforced the respectable reputation of the royal family.

She said she would like to see some children and young people attend the Beiseker museum’s luncheon so they too will have memories of the monarch to treasure.

“That’ll have these nice memories and appreciate what a great woman she was,” Uffelman said.

The initial event was slated to feature entertainment, including a tasteful spoof of some of the Queen’s favourite things, including an ode to the Queen’s sense of humour.

“We often heard about her sense of humour, with Mr. Bean and a lot of those English comedians being some of her favourites,” Uffelman said. “Some of the subject that we thought would be quite amusing were her love of corgis, horses, along with her personal dressers and food tasters.

“And of course, no one’s to touch the Queen.... I thought this could all make some interesting drama, all in good taste, of course.”

Uffelman said since the Queen’s passing, the board has had to rework the program. They are still working on doing that now.

“We were lucky enough so far to hire a bagpiper and we are going to have him herald in our programme,” she said.

“That’s one thing that we know for sure is going to happen.”

Those interested in attending the upcoming luncheon are encouraged to RSVP ahead of time as seating is limited. Please contact Ortrud at 403-947-2577 or Iris at [email protected]

“Dress to impress and join us for a short program to commemorate Her Majesty’s life,” read a poster for the event. “Junior royalty are welcome to attend with their families.”

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