Christie Foundation purchases boat for campers
© Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News
Joan Christie and Amherst Rotarian Morris Haugg toast the late Dr. Hugh Christie and the purchase of a new pontoon boat for Camp Tidnish.
CAMP TIDNISH – The Amherst Rotary Club honoured one of its longtime members on Friday by naming Camp Tidnish’s new pontoon boat in his honour.
The club christened the boat in memory of Dr. Hugh Christie, who passed away in January 2010 at the age of 95.
“The idea of having this boat here is to give an experience to our campers they can’t get anywhere else. Very few of them have the opportunity to get on a boat or a wagon because their wheelchairs sometimes weigh around 700 pounds,” Rotary’s camp committee chair Bob Janes said during the dockside ceremony on the Tidnish River. “They look forward to this every time they come. They ask about the pontoon boat.”
The previous pontoon boat was purchased used and lasted about 10 years. Janes said the boat simply wore out and had to be replaced. With the boat, camp counsellors can take campers for a drive along the Tidnish River.
“I was involved with Hugh many years ago with the camp. He was always very involved in the camp. He was our doctor advisor here and whenever there was a problem they had someone to call. He was a very unassuming guy with a great sense of humour,” Janes said. “This is more than a boat, it’s a tool we use. You have to be here to see their faces. I get to see what this does for the campers.”
The Amherst Rotary Club owns Camp Tidnish that is run by Easter Seals Nova Scotia. The facility offers a summer camping experience to children and adults with physical and intellectual challenges.
The club purchased the boat through a sizeable donation from the Christie Foundation.
Christie’s wife, Joan, said the camp meant so much to her husband.
“Hugh loved Camp Tidnish,” she said. “He spent many, many summer hours here. Every camper, summer after summer, was his patient and Camp Tidnish was a big part of his life.”
She said her late husband was not a showy person and kept his charity close to his chest.
“I hope that he won’t mind the boat bearing his name,” she said. “This way campers can ask ‘Who was this Hugh Christie?’ and someone will explain ‘He was the camp doctor for many years. He was a very great, generous man.’”
His nephew, David Christie, said Hugh would be proud to know his foundation is supporting the club’s purchase of the boat.
“He would be very happy to know that the club and his foundation has purchased a boat for Camp Tidnish,” he said.
Christie said that as his uncle was getting older he decided to leave a lasting legacy for the community in which he grew up and made a living.
“He was a visionary and he was very generous in his approach to community organizations. He was a volunteer in many of those organizations, including the Amherst Rotary Club,” he said.
Since 2007, the foundation has supported 25 Amherst and area charities to the tune of $750,000.