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Hold onto your hats!: Lieutenant Government hosts first-ever garden party in Bonavista


The wind was high, and many colourful hats went tumbling across the lawn of the Mockbeggar Plantation at the July 15 garden party hosted by the province’s Lieutenant Governor, Judy Foote.

The Lieut. Gov. decided to hold the event outside of the capital city as a way to bring Government House to more people — the first time ever in Bonavista.

After all, the Government House belongs to all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, said Foote at the ceremony.

“I’m asked, ‘Why Bonavista?’, I say ‘Why not!’” said Foote to the many who attended of the garden party.

The message from the Lieut. Gov. also focused on reconciliation, noting the newly-established Heart Garden at Government House in St. John’s in memory and honour of victims of residential schools.

A special presentation

The ceremony also included a special presentation by Lieut. Gov. Foote.

Frances Sweetland, a decades long volunteer in the community was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Sweetland, a consummate volunteer in Bonavista and a recipient of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, was recognized for her vital role in helping the community.

She was joined by local Girl Guides, an organization she has been a part of for over 80 years. She’s also volunteered with the Red Cross, Canadian Blood Services and more.

A special ‘fascinator’

While many of the guests and, the Lieutenant Governor herself, wore the customary fascinators synonymous with the garden party events, one attendee decided to make a message with her headwear.

Margaret Hicks passed on a fancy, feathered or flowered hat in favour of a simple, but colourful headscarf tied around her head.

Hicks told The Packet she decided to wear the scarf for a reason.

She says she wanted to honour the women of Newfoundland and Labrador who were from working homes and fishing families; women who raised their children, kept their home and garden, helped their husbands with work like tending the fish flakes, and were involved in local churches.

“They were the ones who cleaned the house and raised seven to eight youngsters,” explained Hicks.

The scarf also included all the colours of the province’s flag.

“We all have different status, but we’re all the same people,” said Hicks. “No one is better than anyone else.”

While these types of events largely represent a certain sect of society, Hicks was able to talk to Foote and explain her reason for wearing the scarf.

In fact, she even pulled her aside inside a room in the Bradley House to show her how she wraps it around her head.

Hicks says she was very grateful to have an opportunity to talk to and have her picture taken with the Lieutenant Governor.

The traditional annual garden party at Government House in St. John’s is on Wednesday, July 24.

Twitter: @jejparsons

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