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New Minas Lions Club meeting ends with surprise wedding

New Minas and District Lions club members Tom Fisher and Marlene Vandertoorn were married in front of a group of surprised peers at the close of the club’s meeting April 10.
New Minas and District Lions club members Tom Fisher and Marlene Vandertoorn were married in front of a group of surprised peers at the close of the club’s meeting April 10. - Ashley Thompson

NEW MINAS - Tom Fisher and Marlene Vandertoorn have shared a few laughs over how they exchanged I dos.

The couple took their peers at the New Minas and District Lions Club by surprise at the close of the group’s regular monthly meeting April 10.

They quietly arranged for fellow Lions Art and Shirley Reid to stand with them as the best man and maid of honour, and invited Rev’d Gary Manthorne to pop in to perform the ceremony.

“I gave Art the ring. I was hoping he’d lose it,” teased Fisher, tabling the first of many one-liners followed by heartfelt sentiments.

“We were totally honoured to have both of them stand. They’ve been real good friends.”

Everyone else was kept in the dark, with the exception of a few friends who dropped in from out of town to witness the occasion.

“They were shocked, but were they ever great,” said Fisher, reflecting on the reactions of the unsuspecting wedding guests.

It only seemed fitting to have Lions populating their guest list. The two met at a Lions Club function while Fisher was based in Amherst, and they’ve been living together in New Minas for three years.

“You have to blame the Lions for all of this,” joked Fisher, who originally said he would not be getting married.

“It was hard to believe at first because he can be quite stubborn at times and he torments, so half the time you don’t believe what he says,” the maid of honour added.

Fisher has 22 years of service as a Lions Club member, and Vandertoorn has been with the service organization for about 11 years.

“They are great Lions members. They help out a lot,” said Shirley Reid.

They both enjoy seeing how Lions Club volunteers make a difference in the lives of others. Fisher fondly remembers the Amherst club sending a young woman to Germany for a life-changing surgery.

“She couldn’t walk when she went on the plane and when she came back she walked off of the plane,” he said.

“There’s your paycheck.”

For their honeymoon, the newlyweds took a trip to the local Tim Hortons for the routine post-meeting chat session with club members.

Fisher, who has two grown children from his first marriage, can’t help but interject when his new bride is asked what it’s like to be married to be a wisecracker like him. 

“She’s some lucky,” he says with a grin.

Vandertoorn, a mother of eight, agrees.

“He’s happy-go-lucky. He’d do anything for you. He’s got a heart of gold,” she said.

“We get along good.”

They had some fun calling the family and friends who weren’t at the wedding to tell them about the surprise ceremony in the days that followed the big night. They didn’t want gifts or a grand ceremony. They’re quite satisfied with what they have already.

“We’re very happy together and I’m very content with her,” said Fisher, smiling at his bride.

“To be honest with ya, I’m a very lucky man – and I sincerely mean that.”

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