Members of the Lawrence family came together to build a new gazebo in the Rotary Centennial Park on Willow Street in memory of longtime Rotarian and doctor Tony Lawrence, who passed away in 2010.
AMHERST – Earlier this year, retired physician Gillian Lawrence decided to do something in her late husband’s honour that would benefit the community and users of the Rotary Centennial Park on Willow Street.
Members of the Lawrence family all converged on the park early this week and with the help of local carpenter Andy Arsenault built a new gazebo.
“As co-chair of the Rotary club’s park committee I wanted to put a gazebo in the park, but the funds weren’t there at the time. We as a family decided it’s something we wanted to do in memory of Tony, who was a long-time Rotarian,” Lawrence said.
Tony Lawrence, a respected Amherst physician, passed away at 85 in August. 2010. He spent 35 years working as a general surgeon at the former Highland View Regional Hospital and was chief of staff at the hospital from 1984 to 1993.
With the goal of completing the project in five days, members of the family came from as far as Florida, Ottawa and Guelph, Ont. to assist with the project. None of them had any carpentry experience, but despite being washed out by rain on Thursday, were putting the finishing touches on the structure late Friday afternoon.
“We even had a wedding party come to use the gazebo for photos before we were even done,” daughter Sarah Lawrence said. “We moved the staging so they could get their photos and went right back to work. It’s sort of neat that the gazebo was being used before it was even finished.”
Gillian said the family had so much help, including from another carpenter who wished to remain anonymous, while children who live across the street from the park came with jugs of ice water and iced tea on Friday.
She said the Town of Amherst helped out by providing gravel for the base and helped with surveying to make sure the gazebo was centered to the flowerbed that sits in front of it.
Anne Lawrence said Danny Baker brought staging from another project for the family to use while Danny Gallagher provided some tools to help.
“We’re amazed it came together, but it just goes to show that many hands make light work,” she said. “People went out of the way to help us.”
Gillan said the gazebo really adds to the park that was purchased by the Amherst Rotary Club to celebrate Rotary International’s 100th birthday in 2005, which also coincided with the club’s 70th anniversary.
The Amherst Rotary Club and the Town of Amherst are working in partnership to make improvements to the park. Several pieces of exercise equipment have been installed and new lighting was put in place this year.
The club purchased the park to give seniors a place to go to exercise, walk or relax, but the park is open to anyone who wishes to use it.