The Royal Purple Lodge No. 264 is alive and well in Bentley. Despite a slight name change and the Bentley Elks closing down, the ladies still meet regularly on the second Monday of most months at 7 p.m. in the Bentley Legion Hall (the old Oxford School beside the Bentley town office).
“It will be the same group, and we will continue to do the same thing, but just not be affiliated with the Elks,” explained Honored Royal Lady Julie Potter who says things evolve continually.
She went on to say, “Some money that we used to give to the Elks /Royal Purple Children’s Fund will now be able to be used locally, so that could be a benefit (locally).”
The group officially received their new charter dated December 22/2014 at their regular meeting on February 23 from Esther Smith, the First Vice President of the Alberta Royal Purple Association. Smith is a member in the Bentley group.
Members have received new membership cards but the group retains their old lodge number and the number of years they have been in existence is still recognized.
Due to a decree by the executive of the Elks of Canada, the Order of Royal Purple of Canada ceased to exist as of January 1.
Royal Purple members had been given the choice to join with the Elks or opt out on their own. Bentley members chose to join the Canadian Royal Purple Society whose head office is in Kamloops, B.C. Some other groups across Canada have opted to do the same thing.
The Benalto Royal Purple folded after 50 years as they struggled with decreased membership, but Bentley, Sundre, Caroline, and Red Deer continue in this area.
The Royal Purple will retain their ceremonies, regalia and much the same mission statement and goals of being a leading national organization of fun loving, dynamic, dedicated volunteers helping children in the community.
The Bentley group has been active for over 53 years (chartered in April, 1961) and is continuing to help with the local school scholarships and awards, rodeo weekend fireworks, and now the 100th anniversary of Bentley, and will continue to help children/families as the need arises, and also support other ventures like kid’s camps, etc.
The local group is still able to host casinos as their major fundraiser.
Active members include Honored Royal Lady Julie Potter, Associate Royal Lady Brenda Valiquette, secretary Joan Dickau, treasurer Sharon Mckeage, historian Sharon Wells, pianist Alice Neumeier, Chaplain Bonnie Metro, Conductress Evelyn Pederson, Loyal Lady Agnes Stoness and more.
Non-active life members include Gladys Holmen, Helen Butcher, Mary Wilton-Davis, Clarabel Witwer, Florence Weisner and Donna Kristianson.
Charter members are Joan Dickau, Helen Butcher, Gladys Holmen, and Mary Wilton-Davis.
The local Royal Purple now lease the historic brick hall they meet in from the town as they cannot afford to pay all the bills and the upkeep of the hall without the Bentley Elks Lodge #318 who were the major contributor. The local Elks lodge closed the end of 2013 after serving the community for 65 years.
The Royal Purple of Canada had celebrated 100 years at their convention in 2014.