January 23, 2015
LAST MEMBER OF ORIGINAL VICTORIA GIRLS’ DRILL TEAM ASSISTS IN RETURN OF SILVER TROPHY CUP TO THE BUTCHART GARDENS
At 97 years old, Helen Tregellas is the last member of the original Victoria Girls’ Drill Team formed in 1938. She along with Marlene Gordon, Suzanne Sjostrand and Elfie Jeeves, all of whom joined in later years, met with Robin Clarke, great granddaughter of Jennie Butchart and owner of The Gardens, to return the original silver trophy cup presented by Jennie Butchart in 1949.
Jennie Butchart, honorary colonel-in-chief of the corps presented the perpetual challenge trophy engraved with the top team members from past years. According to a report from the Victoria Daily Times “About 900 persons were on hand to witness the presentation and the concert which preceded it.” The paper stated the cup was valued at over $300 which, with inflation, is over $3000 today.
The trophy along with various photographs will now occupy a place of honour in this year’s Historical Display which runs through March 15th in the former residence of the Butchart family. The display contains photographs, letters and memorabilia in the multi-room display and shows not only the development of the gardens, but also the deep community involvement of the Butchart family for over a century.
The Victoria Girls' Drill Team was founded in 1938 under the leadership of Norman "Cappy" Foster. Composed of young single women of "high moral standing" the team was organized into a skilled drill corps. As a drill team, they performed at numerous events including performances for troops during World War II, at May 24th celebrations, the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair, and at the Portland Rose Festival. The Drill Team disbanded in 1972.
After the presentation, the group enjoyed High Tea compliments of The Gardens.