The Ritchie Run: family plans fundraiser for Heart and Stroke

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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The Milbury family of Tammy, Greg (missing), Andrew and Aaron Vantassell, Carolyn Milbury, and Raymond, Jenna and Parker Milbury are organizing a 5k run through the streets of Digby to commemorate Ritchie Milbury who died last year of a heart attack.

The Milbury Family wants to commemorate their husband, father and grandfather with a 5-kilometre run and walk through the streets where he worked and walked for 25 years.

Ritchie Milbury passed away March 27 last year on his way back to work at Digby’s public works compound.

He died of a heart attack just outside the compound.

“He was always so active,” said his wife Carolyn. “That was the shock; we never figured it would be him who would die of a heart attack.

“He liked to bike, swim, walk, run with the dog—there were no signs of anything wrong.”

With the anniversary of Ritchie’s death approaching, Carolyn realized recently it was going to be a hard day.

“I thought how are we going to get passed that,” she said.

She decided they should hold a fundraiser but didn’t know what—she wanted something positive to focus on.

She gathered the family, daughter Tammy and son-in law Gregory VanTassel, grandsons Aaron and Andrew; and son Raymond and daughter-in-law Jenna Milbury and grandson Parker. She asked if they had any ideas.

Jenna, a runner, suggested a 5k race.

“It would add another event for Digby and it just seemed fitting to do a run around town,” she said.

Tammy, an avid walker, thinks 5k is a reasonable run or walk for most people.

“It’s not a big huge distance,” she said.

Carolyn too thought it was an awesome idea and so they started planning.

They have registered the run with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and they’ve received permission from the town to hold the event Saturday, March 29 on the Scallop Days’ route – that is, starting north from Captain’s Cabin, then up Carleton to Queen Street, then east on Warwick and north on Montague Row and Water Street and around once more.

The Milburys are only going to charge 10 cents for registration.

“Ritchie was well-known as a little boy to go to town with a nickel and come home with 10 cents,” said Carolyn. “Even as an adult, he was forever picking up change. That what his colleagues thought he was doing when they saw him collapsed by the fence.

“And now, the funny thing is, we’re all finding dimes. It’s true.”

The Milburys aren’t going to worry about timing or prizes at this event.

“We just want to go simple this first year,” said Carolyn.

The event will feature several nods to Ritchie.

“We’re going to have brown bread; he made brown bread for everyone he ever knew,” said Carolyn. “And fudge – he loved fudge.”

As part of the fundraiser, the Milburys are also holding a raffle to be drawn for at the race. The prizes are more nods to the man missing from their lives.

First prize will be 10 pounds of lobster—Ritchie was a lobster fisherman for a while as is his son Raymond today.

Second prize is a cord of Ritchie’s hardwood, third is a family seasons pass to Keji, fourth will be tickets to a local speedway, and fifth a painting of an owl in hardwood trees by a camping friend of the family, Shirley Weir.

The Milburys would like to make the Ritchie Milbury Memorial walk/jog/run an annual event.

“If we could raise $500, for our first year, we’d be very happy,” said Carolyn. “Just to have the event, as a family, it’ll be huge for us.

“It will be a more positive way to meet that date, better than just waiting for it.”

The family has set up a Facebook page for the run and a campaign page on the Heart and Stroke site to accept donations.

Organizations: Heart and Stroke Foundation

Geographic location: Queen Street, Warwick, Water Street

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Recent comments

  • Carolyn Milbury
    February 04, 2014 - 14:44

    Thank you Jonathon Riley for putting our story into print in such a positive way. Thanks for your support and that of the Digby Courier as well. We look forward to seeing you on March 29, 2014 - so be ready......