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22 December, 2015

"SUPERFAN" VI COTTRILL, 80, HAS HER DAY





Whenever possible I have shared human interest, good news stories on my web sites and with friends on Facebook. In a perfect world, that is what I think social media network participation should be all about.

Every community has at least one special character...You know, someone who attends all community events and cannot be missed trudging along downtown streets...Everyone knows them by their first name and they delight in acknowledgement.


A case in point is how the Saugeen Shores community of Port Elgin has accepted and taken to heart an 80-year-old developmentally-challenge woman.  Vi Cottrill turned 80 on December 19th amidst a sea of pink -- her favourite colour -- and it was an occasion that would turn out to be a day-long celebration for the town's  favourite "superfan".  That's just a small town for you!

Vi Cottrill, pretty in pink

The celebration began with a tea held at Port Elgin United Church where more than 100 guests turned out to bring birthday wishes.  Even Mayor Mike Smith presented her with a special certificate.  Those who came to say 'Happy Birthday' were of all ages. From the very young to the young-at-heart, all those who have played any kind of sport in Saugeen Shores, know Vi Cottrill because she very rarely misses a game, whether it's baseball, bowling or hockey.
 
Throughout the decades, she has been presented with team trophies and individual player medals. Those who attended the tea were amazed to see that she had kept each of the hundreds of medals she had been given along with all the trophies.  She even has a centre-ice seat at the arena with her name on it.

Vi's many awards.
From tea time, it was then game time in the evening as she came out to watch her favourite Saugeen Shores Winterhawks WOAA Sr. Men's team play. As she has on past birthdays, Vi dropped the ceremonial puck after being escorted on to the ice by the team Captain and then was ushered to her own special seat. Following the first period of play, fans had the chance to personally wish her a happy birthday and enjoy Tim Hortons' doughnuts provided by the Winterhawks for everyone in the arena. 

Vi has watched young players grow up in local sports and now watches as their children and grandchildren become involved. Her phenomenal memory is a data bank of jersey numbers, names and statistics. She knows when teams are playing and who they are playing and what the final score is ... long after the games are over. She walks countless miles on arthritic legs to all local ball fields and the arena. 

She and her sister, Wilma, grew up in Port Elgin on a small farm owned by their grandparents. Today she has become a steadfast integral part of the community where everyone recognizes her...and treats her like a celebrity.  She volunteers at Elgin Lodge retirement living centre, attends church faithfully, helps at the annual Christmas Eve dinner at Living Hope Church in Port Elgin, is a part of the Rail Trail Association volunteer group and never misses a church or community dinner.
 
You approach Vi with caution...She will talk your arm off.  I once made the mistake of standing beside her during a minute of silence at a Remembrance Day service...You wouldn't believe the frowns we got...I should have known.  Served me right!


(With thanks to the Saugeen Times)

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