Vickers, Bill

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                                      BILL VICKERS
                           Bill Vickers still believes in value of co-operatives


Bill Vickers has been involved with the co-op movement for decades. Of late, he has had a few health problems, but his confidence in co-ops and their mission has not waned.

This story appeared in the local paper many years ago and is reprinted as a salute to a man who believes in the Miramichi.

Bill Vickers began work for the Northumberland Co-Op Creamery in August of 1943, just three months after the beginning of operations. He had worked for G. P. Burchill in the woods and at the late senator’s yard. He started work as a cream grader, at a time when the main pursuit of the new co-operative was the manufacture of butter.

“Conditions were deplorable then,” he relates. “Sometimes we were flooded out by the river”, at the former location of the dairy at the present site of the town hall. Vickers also remembers the day a barn next to the creamery burnt and cracked all the glass in that side of the building. Only one truck collected cream at the time, a flatbed cart onto which cans of milk were placed.

In January of 1944, he went to Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph to take courses in cheese, butter, milk and ice cream making. Returning in April, he went in early 1946 to Antigonish, Nova Scotia to attend Saint Francis Xavier University to take more courses about co-operatives. “When I came back,” in early May, “They told me I had no job.”

He was soon back at work, however, and in 1947 he was asked, at a meeting in the Waverly Hotel, to become the manager. The first few years he spent as manager, Vickers recalls were “tough going”.

He credits Allan Saunders, the local agricultural representative until 1952, with having helped publicize the cooperative and, indeed, with having helped keep it together.

A deficit of over $1,000 in 1947 was turned into a surplus of about $6,700.


Source: Miramichi Leader/Weekend – January 14, 2005

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