At an age when some people look to slow down their pace, Peter Egglestone took on more.
“I spent my business years in Mission,” said the 94-year-old Penticton resident. “I was in the food business as a secretary-treasurer of a big food co-op there. I retired in (1985) and moved to the Okanagan because I had a big family there. I’ve been volunteering ever since I came to the Okanagan in ‘85.”
During his time in Penticton, Egglestone has helped out the Penticton Symphony Supporters and also volunteered with Revenue Canada Agency in assisting people with their tax returns, for which he received a certificate from former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien. Egglestone was also involved in the volunteer community while living in Mission.
For the past 25 years, he has volunteered his time at Sun Village Retirement Residence in Penticton, tending to their gardens and playing the violin and the banjo and mandolin, as well as at other seniors’ care facilities. Perhaps Egglestone’s biggest project as a volunteer was to start an endowment fund for the Okanagan Symphony Society around 2010. The aim was to try to find people to donate from $500 to $1,000 per year over a five-year period.
Since its inception, the fund has grown significantly thanks to Egglestone’s efforts and the efforts of others. Fellow committee member Donna Schellenberg said Egglestone would call each donor to personally thank them for giving to the fund and has pledged quite a bit himself to it. Egglestone recently retired from the small endowment committee. Recently one person reached the $5,000 mark, making this a total of six individuals who have donated this much which takes advantage of matching federal grants.
“Activity is getting underway to reach the $200,000 mark in the OSS Penticton Fund held by CFSO/S. The goal is a long way from Peter’s million-dollar dream but it is a start,” said Schellenberg, who is hoping more people come forward to help with the committee.
In March of this year, Egglestone’s brother died a week shy of his 102nd birthday, after which Egglestone scaled back on his volunteering.
“You do a lot of grieving for awhile,” said Egglestone. “We were very close and were the only two left in the family.”
He plans on continuing with his gardening duties and is planning on entertaining residents at his retirement residence.
“Gardening and music have been my big passions,” he said. “They let me put in a rose garden around here and they let me do flowers and stuff around the lodge.”
He credits having hobbies and interests as the reason why he’s still enjoying living a fruitful life.
“You have to have something to do when you retire,” said Egglestone. “You just can’t be idle. The fact that I’m in fairly decent health — my energy isn’t as high as it used to be, which is understandable — I can still walk over to the (Penticton) plaza and do some shopping. You’ve got to have these interests and hobbies.”