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This article first appeared in the May 9, 2007 issue of the The Low Down to Hull and Back News.External Link Reprinted with permission. Search complete list of Low Down Articles.

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RAWQ awards go to W'field Grannies, keeper of Gatineaa Hills history

By Josh Clipperton

Two Gatineau Hills residents and a famous bevy of ladies are to be celebrated by the Regional Association of West Quebecers at the group's awards banquet June 1. But even though they are to be honoured, two had no idea they'd been nominated until they were notified that they were winners.

Che1sea's Jay Atherton, Cantley's Beryl Kerrison and the Wakefield Grannies will be honoured at the event for their volunteer work.

Atherton says he's not sure who nominated him, but he has an idea. Regardless, he's appreciative.

Deserving Winner

Jay Atherton
Chelsea's Jay Atherton won the Regional Association of West Quebecer's award for community service in the arts and culture. J. Atherton photo.

"I was very pleased. Surprised, but pleased," says Atherton, who won the award for community service in arts and culture. "It's a very good association. lt's doing excellent work. opening up the comrnunity recognizing work done."

The awards are an appreciation of the efforts of volunteers to better the anglophone community - and the community as a whole - in West Quebec. Atherton was a deserving winner, according to Joyel Singfield, spokesperson for the association.

"(Atherton) was nominated for his countless years with the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and his dedication to that cause and making sure that things get preserved (in the region)," says Singfield.

Kerrison was also unaware she had been nominated. She will receive the award for community service in education.

Kerrison has worked with the West Quebec Literacy Council for 15 years, first tutoring adults with reading difficulties and then training the tutors themselves.

"I hadn't really given any thought to it. I'm not doing it to get awards," says Kerrison, who has trained 135 tutors. "But I'm happy because it's going to bring attention to the problem."

She hopes the exposure of the award will help promote the cause of adult literacy

According to a 2003 international report, nine million Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65 scored below the desired literacy threshold for the demands of today's society.

Out There

"It's out there, people hide it," says Kerrison. "You don't know it, but people can't read and write."

The association's outstanding achievement award will go to the Wakefield Grannies. The group is being recognized for their work in raising awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemics that ravage the families of fellow grandmothers in Africa.

The fourth annual awards banquet for the Regional Association of West Quebecers, a federally-funded organization promoting the anglophone community based in Aylmer, takes place June 1 at la Maison du Citoyen in Hull.