90-year-old volunteer honoured at Orwell

Steve Sharratt
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 Island singer Teresa Doyle shares some fun with her aunt Martina Doyle during a special celebration at Orwell Corner Historic Village Wednesday to mark the long time volunteers' dedication to so many community groups across the province. It also marked elder Doyle's 90th birthday this weekend.

ORWELL – Poems have been written about her and songs have been sung, but a truly good life is never complete without a Martina Doyle recitation.

And that’s what she delivered here Wednesday night when a special tribute to her volunteerism at Orwell Corner Historic Village, combined with her 90th birthday celebration, was held.

“Let me give you a little story,’’ she said at the end of the evening before launching into one of her famous recitations that have been part of the Orwell Corner fabric since the historic site opened about 40 years ago.

Doyle was one of the founding board members and volunteers and was still a potent force this past summer when she took to the stage for a “recitation” or story about Island fancies and foibles.

“There’s no one like her,’’ said curator Tom Leclair during the evening that featured music, songs and stories.

Historian Boyde Beck provided a decade by decade account of Island life in conjunction with the Queen’s Jubilee; since Doyle is the same age.

Well known singer and musician Teresa Doyle sang songs and told stories about her “fireball” aunt who is forever on he go organizing concerts and events to help or welcome people into the community.

“Not many people I know are still organizing concerts at her age,’’ said the Island singer. “She would find people from the community to offer their talents from kids to older folks and there was always Martina and her very famous recitations.”

Martina Doyle organized the St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas concert at Orwell for decades and always handed out a thank you gift to every performer. Many a musician is blessed with socks.

Her concerts featured the taste of a community gathering from 50 years ago when “recitations” were especially prominent.

Her neighbour Floreen Sigsworth wrote a song about her “squares” and her volunteer efforts were always assisted by her sister Mary.

Her family hosted a huge birthday party this past summer that brought members from across North America to mark the occasion. She actually turns 90 on Remembrance Day.

The Rotary Club of Charlottetown honoured the Alberry Plains resident with the Gordon M. Avard Seniors Award for outstanding volunteer service to her community in 2009.

She has volunteered with UNICEF, the Canadian Cancer Society, the United Way, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Literary Alliance of P.E.I., the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead, St. Joachim's Church, the Women's Institute, 4-H and the Orwell Corner Historic Village, among others.

Organizations: Remembrance Day.The Rotary Club of Charlottetown, UNICEF, Canadian Cancer Society United Way Heart and Stroke Foundation Literary Alliance

Geographic location: Orwell Corner Historic Village, North America, Alberry Plains Joachim

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Recent comments

  • Carol Curran
    November 09, 2012 - 17:35

    Martina,Glad to have been on the Island this past summer and to have celebrated your 90th birthday with all your family and friends, and congratulations on your Award from Orwell corner, you so deserve it. from Carol Curran

  • Let's honour Martina's Tradition
    November 09, 2012 - 11:00

    Great lady. But, what makes this story great? It's Martina's active participation in Island life that matters. Just like her niece Teresa, she doesn't just talk. She does something. That's why it's important to honour this tradition by considering to attend the rally for better government Monday, November 12th @ 2:00 at OUR Legislature. This is not an anti-Liberal rally (I am a Liberal) it's a simple statement that Islanders deserve real transparency and authentic involvement in the decisions that directly impact us. The evidence is clear, Islanders have recently witnessed, "signs of more serious deterioration". If we do nothing, we deserve that deterioration. I am sure Martina and Teresa would agree, our children and grand-children deserve better! They deserve action, not just talk . . .

  • Dianne McGuigan-Kenney
    November 09, 2012 - 07:05

    What a remarkable woman Martina is very proud to say she is my aunt...The most precious time growing up was going over to Martina's for a visit..she was always rushing out the door for a meeting...but not before she got out the tea and biscuits for us.

  • Granddaughter Danielle
    November 08, 2012 - 21:08

    I am so proud to call Martine Doyle not only my amazing grandmother, but a mentor and leader to all her family and whoever meets her. She is always there for anyone who needs her with homemade biscuits and tea! Thanks to Orwell for putting together a party she'll cherish forever.

    • Deborah Doyle
      November 09, 2012 - 00:21

      Mom is a real beacon of light for all. Always thinking,planning and giving. She has enriched so many lives and we are proud to be the chosen dozen to call her mom. Thank you to the organizers,relatives and a special thank you to Mary and Florene for giving her such valued friendship Happy birthday mom .May you have another decade of good health and happiness.