Volunteer Bio – Cynthia Butcher

I was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England and was a War Baby, though I don’t remember anything from that time. I came to Canada at the age of twenty six after eighteen months of working as Assistant Matron at Sherborne Preparatory School, three years at Teacher Training College in Eastbourne, Sussex and five years of teaching Home Economics at a Secondary Modern School in Maidstone, Kent.

September 1969 and I came to Mission to teach at Mission Secondary School. I was hired by telegram and was also offered jobs at Sicamous, Fort St. James and New Hazelton! What a change in timetable. From having a class all morning or afternoon once a week there were six classes a day at that time. But I survived and worked there for nineteen years, until 1988. During that time my parents joined me and I was married to Michael. Unfortunately in 1994 after only twenty years of a very happy marriage I was widowed at 51.

In 1988 I went from full time to part time teaching which meant working as a Teacher on Call. I did not job share as I did not want to share my ‘kitchen’ and through subbing I discovered Grade 4, Special Needs Classes and the school Cafeterias. It was then that I started my volunteering and joined Mission Hospital Auxiliary thanks to my neighbours Dorothy Pohoda and Greta Brown.

Almost immediately I was given the Candy Stripers to look after, the Memorial Book came in 1996, I took several years to label and reorganize all the photos and I wrote the history of our Auxiliary for our 90th birthday in 2010. I will be updating it for our centenary celebrations in 2020. I have also worked at the Thrift Shop, am a spare for Reception and love my shifts at Ambulatory Day Care.

I volunteer at the Clarke Theatre and organize the ushers for the shows. Also every year I am on a committee for the Mission Community Foundation and we interview Grade 12 students for the many scholarships that we have – MHCA give three $1,000 scholarships to students who volunteer at least 100 hours at TRIM.

I travel a lot, several trips a year, all over the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia and twice to China and to Russia. Learning about the history and culture of another country helps to keep my little grey cells alive! I make a book of each trip with my photographs and diary via my computer, to keep the trip alive for me. I have learned from being in the Auxiliary is that you do things while you can because all too soon the day will come when you can’t!

Finally in 2008 I agreed to become the 2nd Vice President – I was first asked in 1990 – and enjoyed the next eight years working my way through the positions to Past President and felt very honored when I was given a Life Membership in 2015. Mission Health Care Auxiliary has been an important part of my life for the last 27 years and I value the friendships that I have made in our great organization. I sing the praises of MHCA whenever I can and suggest that people join us – volunteering is good for your health.

Submitted by C. Butcher


CYNTHIA BUTCHER came to Mission in 1969 after teaching in England for five years. She flew to Montreal, crossed Canada by the Greyhound bus and taught Home Economics at Mission Secondary School for the next nineteen years.  In 1988 she quit full time teaching and started substituting, discovering Grade Fours, the Cafeteria programme in the three high schools and the Special Needs programme. Cynthia also joined Mission Hospital Auxiliary as it was known then, thanks to neighbor Dorothy Pohoda.

A member for almost thirty four years, Cynthia has been convenor of the Candy Stripes/Junior Volunteers since she first joined and therefore on the Executive and has been responsible for the Memorial Fund since 1996.  She has worked at Ambulatory Day Care, Reception and at the Cottage, reorganized all the photo albums, written the History of MHCA and is responsible for the AGM report and organizing the display case by Reception at MMH.  She was President of MHCA 2011-13 and was very proud to be made a Life Member in 2015.

Volunteering is part of Cynthia’s life; she feels that it is important to be a contributing member of society and to give back to the community when retired.  She enjoys the social aspect of the Auxiliary and is pleased to say that she now has close friends who are not necessarily teachers and working at the hospital she often sees people who were her students years before.  Since she joined in 1988 the Auxiliary has changed as many of the services offered are no longer available, first with the reorganization in the 90s when Fraser Health took over from a local Hospital Board and now from COVID.  

Submitted by A. Campbell

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