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Death of Queen Elizabeth II saddens Kamsack residents

Residents of Kamsack reacted to the death of Queen Elizabeth II with sadness as they recalled memories of her visit to the region.

KAMSACK — When the news that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died on Sept. 8, the Kamsack Times asked a few Kamsack residents on their thoughts and their remembrance of Oct. 19, 1987 when the Queen and His Royal highness, Prince Philip visited Kamsack, Veregin and Canora.

Mary and John Welykholowa, who now live at Eaglestone Lodge, were among members of the Royal Canadian Legion who were lined up at the entrance of the Kamsack Junior High School (now the Kamsack Comprehensive Institute) to greet the royal couple as they entered.

“It was quite cold,” Mary said, adding that the couple had stopped to speak to Mel Berezowski as they passed by.

Mary recalls the program held inside the school where “the girls danced, the choir sang and a gift was presented by the Cote Band.”

“We were all dressed in Legion uniforms, gloves and all,” she said.

“When I turned on the TV today and saw the flag at half-mast on Buckingham Palace, I knew what had happened,” she said. “I felt so badly for her and her family.

“I cried,” she said. “Johnny put his arm around me and had a tear too.

“She was a special lady.”

Mary said that she has a box of memorabilia at her daughter’s house at Madge Lake, including the invitation she had received from the Town of Kamsack to attend the reception with the Queen.

Not having that invitation, Mary showed the card she and her husband had received from the Queen last year on the occasion of their 75th anniversary.

“We were in full uniform and in those days that meant wearing our berets,” Winnie Koroluk, also a resident of the Lodge, said, adding that the Queen had stopped to talk to Bill Carss and said that she had remembered him.

“Bill was a Canadian Air Force pilot who had flown the Queen during her previous visits to Canada,” Koroluk explained.

“When you see the Queen on TV, you’re amazed at how tiny she is, yet so regal,” she said. “But I’m of British heritage.”

“I was very sad,” Betty Salahub said, explaining that she has a scrapbook with photographs of the Royal Family.

Georgina Harambura, who had been working at the Togo School in 1987, said she had accompanied the teachers and students to Veregin where they got to see the Royal couple.

“It was a cold day,” she remembered.

A reporter for the Kamsack Times in 1987, William Koreluik talked about the excitement among the press, international, national, provincial and local, as they waited for the Queen and Prince at Canora, and then boarded a bus with the other media people for the ride to Veregin, and again on the bus to Kamsack.

All the media people had been assigned designated spots during the tour where they could stand, wait and take their photos or films, Koreluik explained. “At the school, I was assigned a spot just outside the main door to the gymnasium.

“As the Queen and Prince Philip, passed by me, at arm’s length, I let my camera dangle around my neck in order to take the time to see the Queen, close up, and not through the camera’s lens.

“Their visit was definitely one of the highlights of my career with the newspaper.”

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