The second hole at the Salt Spring Golf and Country Club was a special place for the late Alice Richards, who accomplished two of five hole-in-one shots made over her lifetime there at the ladies’ tee.
Family, friends and fellow golfers can now visit the greens and honour Alice Richards at the same time with a memorial promising to keep her name and her memory alive for many years to come.
“My mom spent so much time there. She loved golfing — she golfed most days for many years,” said her eldest son Damian Richards, who did much of the planning work to make the memorial a reality.
Alice passed away April 11, 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Her surviving loved ones — sons Damian and Robin, and husband Bill Haworth — were each responsible for arranging one of the memorial’s three elements. The installation includes a stone with a plaque, and a hand-crafted bench made by Michael Mintern from red cedar grown by Seven Ravens Permaculture. The bench will be shaded by a weeping cherry tree planted as part of the memorial. Alice’s ashes have been buried beneath the sapling.
“The tree gets quite large and has flowing purple blossoms. It’s quite beautiful,” Richards said.
The Driftwood also helped contribute to the bench in memory of a cherished member of the newspaper family: Alice was the first wife of company owner Tony Richards and an active part of the paper’s success for many years.
Alice was born in Fredriksberg, Denmark, in 1951 as Alice Schodt and emigrated to Canada with her family three years later. They lived in the tiny town of Woodfibre, B.C. and later moved to North Vancouver, where Alice attended high school.
She arrived on Salt Spring as a young woman after seeing an ad for a summer job at the Harbour House Hotel and moved to the island permanently in 1972, which is when she met Tony. The Richards spent the next few years living off the land and the ocean near Surge Narrows on Read Island, where they had their two sons. They moved back to Salt Spring to raise their kids.
Tony went to work with his parents at the Driftwood newspaper after they returned, and Alice joined the staff soon after as a photographer and columnist. She won many awards for her work. One defining moment in her career came during Vancouver’s Expo 86, when Alice received a media pass to follow Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on their official duties in Victoria, and ended up being invited aboard the royal yacht Britannia. She was especially proud of the photos that resulted, and also got to speak with the prince consort.
“That was a highlight of her life, for sure,” said Damian, adding he still remembers working with his mother in the Driftwood’s darkroom as a child.
Alice met her second husband, William (Bill) Haworth, at the Salt Spring Island Golf Club and playing the sport was a passion for the couple. They travelled to St. Andrews in Scotland for the British Open twice, and played a traditional 12-hole course on the Isle of Arran as another highlight of their travels together.
Alice achieved her very first hole-in-one at the Blackburn Meadows golf course back on Salt Spring. She scored four others at the Salt Spring Golf Club, where she was also Brooks Ladies Champion in 2004 and 2009 and earned multiple trophies. She supported the organization running the course by serving as secretary to the board and a member of the greens committee as well as other roles.
Damian Richards said he’s received good support for the project from people at the golf club who knew his mother, including the groundskeeper and the manager, and some of the friends who played with her. Everyone there has agreed the tribute is entirely fitting. And for all those who knew Alice and now have to live without her, the memorial bench and tree will provide a lovely place to think about the positive impact she had in their lives.
“We didn’t have any kind of service, which was difficult,” Damian said, noting that was his mother’s expressed wish. “I believe in the importance of rituals around loss and grief, and it’s super important to help process it, and just to honour her in some way.”