Potton Heritage Association

A Word from the Editor

Histoire Potton History

Special 30th Anniversary | Fall 2021
Sandra Jewett

It is with pride that the Comité de rédaction presents this edition of Histoire Potton History, many months in the making. Initially this 30th anniversary edition was intended to present an in-depth though personal look at some Directors whose efforts and leadership have left a mark on the APP.

Unquestionably, Gérard is the father of the Association. His keen passion to find plausible answers to questions we had not ever posed, may have empowered a whole segment of our community to shift ideas from the impossible to why not? Our article will evoke many good memories.

Determined and progressive in his thinking, Hans has given unselfishly of his time and talents to conserve and protect the most vulnerable and unique of our heritage resources, both the built and natural. He was instrumental redefining our mission and shaping us into the forward-thinking association that we are. Our article aims to chronicle the extent of this man’s contribution both to our community and association. We hope you will find it an interesting read.

The evolution of any organization may be traced and better understood through its written records – generally the responsibility of the Secretary. Separating the wheat from the chaff to formulate a cohesive decision is the domain of a competent secretary. Our first was the late Brian Timperley who, for 11 years, toiled principally the old-fashioned way: a pad and paper, a typewriter, address labels, snail mail and reams of paper! He faithfully reminded us at almost every meeting that e-mail would be so much easier and less costly. And, by the way, the Association should investigate creating a website! Could we not please make a decision about this? We hemmed and hawed. Few but Serge Normand had any faith in the future Brian spoke of! Brian passed away in 2020.

In time, it was Serge’s professionalism and insistent spirit that moved the APP from basic 90’s technology to top line 21st century. His work is impeccable and he has set the bar for high standards we have come to expect in any endeavour. Serge has written about how and why he came to Potton. You’ll enjoy reading about his adventures with his canine friends.

When Brian Timperley retired, Jean-Louis Bertrand, the student of democracy on the Association’s Board took up the mantle. Some time passed before I came to know Jean-Louis, much less understand the breadth of his contribution to the wider community. Jean-Louis was a prodigious reader and a prolific, talented writer. Determined and purposeful in his work, he treated his job as Secretary and principal scribe of the Association with characteristic professionalism. Jean-Louis passed away in January 2021. Privileged in working closely with him, I know his influence was considerable. François Filion Hébert, a newcomer to the APP Board, has written about his former neighbour with respect and affection.

Not always is the Association staid and serious! Much pleasant camaraderie has been influenced by Carol Bishop – the inimitable and sometimes fiery ‘Energizer Bunny’ of the Association, who can be as tenacious as Hans ever thought of being. The social aspect which has always played an important role in the cohesion of our association has been due in large part to Carol’s understanding of what works! We salute and sincerely thank you, Carol, the longest serving member of our Board.

We invited Board members to submit vignettes about why they chose Potton for their home. Chantal, Janine, and François among others have kindly shared with us. The question has always intrigued me. Have you wondered, too?

Nearly all that I have written over the years has been patiently, perfectly translated to impeccable French by a talented and determined lady, our very own Jacqueline Robitaille, who has also written about her arrival in Potton. She personifies unwavering courtesy and volunteerism. I treasure Jacqueline’s friendship and thank her sincerely for the dedication she has so generously shown.

Despite many accomplishments no-one spoken of here has worked alone or in a vacuum. At best, each leader showed the way, and steered the ship. The helping hands were many, and disagreements, rare. Through shared experience, each of us has brought unique skills and interests to our organization. Each has given generously of the one commodity which is irretrievable when spent – precious time. Such is the legacy of l’Association du patrimoine de Potton as the old guard changes and such is the privilege we have shared in the community we treasure.