Ritchie Milbury Memorial fills the streets and skies of Digby

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on March 30, 2014

Mayor Ben Cleveland and Carolyn Milbury start the Ritchie Milbury Memorial 5 k on Saturday, March 29.

©Jonathan Riley

[a slideshow of photos from the event]

The streets of Digby were filled with walkers and runners and the sky was filled with bright red and yellow balloons.

The family and friends of Ritchie Milbury held a memorial fun run and celebration of Ritchie’s life in downtown Digby on Saturday, March 29.

The Ritchie Milbury Memorial attracted 166 walkers and runners and raised approximately $5,500 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Carolyn Milbury said the day was wonderful.

“The atmosphere, the people, the response was all just fantastic,” she said. “Everyone was there in the spirit of memorial and wanting to participate.

She said it was especially great to see so many family and friends gather again a year after her husband passed away.

“We’ve come full circle,” she said. “We started out a year ago not prepared for it and now today to be finally able to do what we need to do to help with the healing—this was a more positive way to come back together, celebrate and be remembering all at the same time.”

Milbury said they held the event partly to remember Ritchie, to show publicly how his death impacted them and to support the Heart and Stroke’s goal of creating more survivors.

“We as a family don’t want this to happen to someone else,” she said. “I’ve lost three very important men to heart conditions; my grandfather, my father and my husband. We just thought it was time to do something to help.”

Carolyn said the balloon send off was a way to remind everyone why they were there.

“To me it was just that serene moment for remembrance, outwardly expressing our love,” she said. “I kind of wish I could have been a butterfly and gone with them. It was a quite a moment.”

Registration for the run was only a dime, because Ritchie had a reputation for finding and picking up dimes on the sidewalk, but many entrants paid $5, $10 and $20.

The organizers also sold tickets on various prizes, sold balloons for the balloon launch and accepted donations both online and at the event.

Organizers gave out prizes for the first person to join their Facebook event (Justin Wood); the first to donate online (Linda DeMone); the first to register for the event (Tina Raymond); for the runners who came from the farthest (Ivan and Pearl Glass, Trenton); the mother who registered the most children (Alma Jean Dixon of Dartmouth registered 4 children); and the last walker (Belinda Matheson).

Ritchie’s daughter-in-law Jenna Milbury was the first across the line closely followed by the family of Tanya Park, Sean Merrett and Spencer in the stroller.

Donations can still be made online at the Heart and Stroke event page

The Ritchie Run: a family plans memorial and fundraiser for Heart and Stroke,  Feb. 4, 2014