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Agency steps up to save the Duc d’Orleans Seniors Cruise

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Lambton Elderly Outreach is stepping in to keep the annual Seniors Cruise afloat, just as it was about to disappear.

The free day aboard the Duc d’Orleans II is a 40-year tradition in Sarnia that treats about 1,000 seniors to a river cruise, entertainment and lunch.

But volunteer organizer Marni Thomas said recently she isn’t able to co-ordinate the event this year due to health issues.

After Lambton Elderly Outreach (LEO) executive director Bill Yurchuk heard the cruise was about to go under last week he announced his agency will take the lead and ensure it continues.

Bill Yurchuk

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “We know some great people have worked to make the seniors cruise happen in the past. I didn’t want to see that legacy end.

“After all, this is the 40th anniversary.”

The fact LEO caters to seniors and the cruise is for seniors makes it a good fit, Yurchuk added.

The cruise began in 1978 when the late radio broadcaster Peter Henderson decided local seniors would enjoy a day on the St. Clair River.

He assembled a large group of volunteers and donors who chipped in everything from sandwiches and drinks to music and transportation to the boat.

Many local businesses have supported the Seniors Cruise for decades and made it possible to keep the event free. Henderson always liked to say admission was just a smile.

Yurchuk is optimistic those same donors and sponsors will support his effort to keep the cruise going and provide their usual assistance this year.

“I know that Marni always began work on this in December and she wasn’t able to do that this year, so nothing has been done yet,” he said.

“There are a lot of key players I hope will come forward right away. We have to move quickly to get it done.”

This year’s cruise has been confirmed for Monday, June 25, leaving from the dock at Centennial Park.

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