Todmorden Legion event honours legendary member

Angie Gualtieri holds a book in her hands. Tales of Todmorden Veterans by Jack Aldred. It’s obvious this book means a lot to her.

Gualtieri recalls when the roof at her Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden, Branch 10, needed fixing. The branch couldn’t afford to fix it. Jack Aldred, a well-loved member of the branch, stepped up. Proceeds from Aldred’s helped raise money for the roof repairs.

“That’s who (Jack) was,” Gualtieri said. “A great man.”

The roof repair story was one of many memories shared at the Todmorden branch during its annual blind dart tournament held annually in Aldred’s memory. Aldred died in 2015.

Blind darts is a tournament in which players don’t know who their partners will be until names are drawn from a hat. The event helped get everyone engaged, socializing and sharing their memories of Aldred.

“He was a legendary man,” said Gualtieri, who’s president of Branch 10, “Everyone loved him.”

Aldred spent his life after the war as a post office employee, then retired and then served as a crossing guard in East York for 24 years, while remaining an active member of Branch 10.

He successfully campaigned for a controlled crosswalk at Carlaw and Mortimer and was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, and a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, for outstanding community service.

Larry Porter, another member of the Todmorden branch who attended the blind dart tournament, explained that he emigrated from Ireland in 1957 and has lived in East York ever since.

“I never met Aldred personally, but I can’t stop hearing about everything he was doing for the community I live in,” Porter said. “I love this community and he was a great man for making it better.”

The branch raised $505 from the 25 players at this year’s Jack Aldred blind dart tournament. All proceeds will further Aldred’s legacy of repairing the Todmorden roof.