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.