Victoria fishing club founder celebrates her 100th birthday

Helen Wells has lived in Victoria for most of her life

A long-time Victoria resident is celebrating her 100th birthday surrounded by fellow members of the Golden Rods and Reels salmon fishing club.

Helen Wells and her late husband helped found the club, which has been around for 42 years.

Just days before her big 1-0-0 she sat with dozens of friends to celebrate at a Golden Rods and Reels luncheon.

“It’s a social club, it’s wonderful,” Wells said, adding that she doesn’t fish any more. “Everyone here is so friendly.”

Wells was born on Feb. 8, 1920 in Vanguard, Sask., the second child born in the village’s new hospital. She grew up in the village and then moved to Regina where she got a secretarial training diploma before working for several different co-ops around the province.

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Later on, her parents retired to Victoria and Wells came to visit, and never left. In Victoria she worked for the federal government in a department that used to issue what was known as a “baby allowance” of $5 per month. She met her husband in Victoria, and they got married when she was 29 and had two daughters, Callie and Bonna.

Together the family travelled across the Pacific Northwest in their trailer to enjoy the great outdoors.

Wells and her family loved fishing and helped found the Golden Rods and Reels in 1977.

“I think we should all be really glad that Helen is here today and nearing 100 years,” said Sandy McElroy, Golden Rods and Reels member, at Wells’ luncheon. “You can hear by all the laughter and fun that she helped found a really good group. I was thinking that over the years there’s hundreds, perhaps thousands of people that have come together because of the group she helped start.”

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Now a centenarian, Wells said she doesn’t feel much different from other birthdays. She still keeps active, goes for walks, attends exercise classes and gardens, as well as goes to the Cedar Hill Rec Centre once per week to play Canasta.

She said she doesn’t really take vitamins or medications; “I’m not into pills.”

Her secret to vitality?

“Keep interested in all that’s going on, and keep looking forward to what’s ahead, and keep a smile on,” she said. “Enjoy life, enjoy it all. That’s all I can say.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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