Sitting outside Agnew’s General Store is a bench crafted with love for Hilda Clark, awaiting its eventual home at the future Herlihey Park in Wilberforce. C

ommissioned by the Wilberforce FUNraising Group Clark was part of, the wide bench made by local artist Wayne Quibell is etched with black bears and a heart with Clark’s name. The former councillor passed away Aug. 7, 2019, and was well known throughout the community, volunteering with many different groups, as well as founding the Wilberforce Heritage Guild.

FUNraising Group member Kathy Rogers said they wanted to honour her memory within the upcoming new park, which she was a huge proponent for.

“She was quite involved in improving our community and keeping it flourishing and moving forward,” Rogers said. Council approved the park master plan March 2019.

Clark attended that meeting and spoke positively about the plan, though said she would like local history to be spotlighted more. The municipality is building the park in stages with a projected completion of 2022. Rogers said Clark pushed hard to make the park happen.

“She really wanted to see it completed,” Rogers said. “She regularly pushed (Mayor) Dave (Burton) along to get that park done. That’s why I think it got done, because Hilda pestered. “You do need someone to keep your spirits rolling. There’s always too much on the go, you need someone else to say, ‘hey, what about this’?”

Quibell said he knew Clark for many years and was happy with how the bench turned out.

“She was a very steadfast, determined, one-way lady and she let you know it. She had a great, kind heart as good as gold. Very community-oriented,” he said. “It was a privilege to honour Hilda and honour this new park coming in at the same time.”

Rogers said they hoped to celebrate the bench after it was completed over the winter and get it into the park, but the pandemic sidelined those plans. For now, it will remain outside Agnew’s, but Rogers said they hope to commemorate it whenever that is possible. She added Clark was an important fixture in their group and a fantastic person to work with.

“She always had great ideas and great experience,” Rogers said. “You always knew she was going to do what she said. That’s an important aspect in a volunteer.”

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