A Brief History of the Bradley Centre
On June 26, 1973 a group of 10 senior residents of Coombs held their
first recorded meeting of the new Coombs Hobby Pensioners Association
with first President George Hutchison presiding.
George was the driving force behind the formation of the Association.
The group’s first meeting place was the old exhibition building
at the Coombs fairgrounds which they leased for 25 years.
Building improvements were made with the assistance of
a substantial New Horizons grant and later they acquired
supplies and equipment to use in their hobbies.
They applied for and received another grant to hire an activity co-ordinator.
Very active years followed with many participants in various courses including
archery, lapidary, photography, fibre and textile arts, and woodworking.
Other activities including whist, cribbage, yoga and stamp collecting.
The Coombs Hall became too small for the many activities and participants.
Lydia Bradley’s husband Ernest died in 1979 and she wanted to live closer to town.
Lydia suggested “if the pensioners set up my prefabricated house,
I will give in exchange a piece of land to the association.”
The offer was accepted and following many hours of labour and
over $5000 the house was up and Lydia moved in.
Many hard-working members volunteered their time and effort
and in 1980 they had the land.
What now? How do we get a hall?
The group decided they would “never give up”.
Ten more years in the Coombs Hall and dedicated fund-raising efforts
until they could talk about a new hall for their group.
After negotiations and much planning, a grant was approved by
GO BC and the official sod turning took place in April 1991.
Other grants and financial contributions enabled the association to move forward
with the planning, designing, and construction drawings and obtaining permits.
A mortgage of $60,000 was necessary and three years later (1996)
the mortgage papers were burnt.
On June 23, 1982 the Coombs Hobby Pensioners Association became
the Mid-Island Pensioners and Hobbyist Association,
a Canadian charity, serving School District 69 on Vancouver Island.
Groups and activities continued.
Rentals for weddings, birthdays, sports groups, Elections Canada and
Canadian Blood Services provided the funds critical to running the Bradley Centre.
Hildegard and Gunter Buschhaus, as President and Treasurer,
managed the hall and its activities with enthusiasm and dedication for 24 years.
Under their stewardship the Bradley Centre thrived to
celebrate its 40th Anniversary on June 30, 2013.
In October 2018, Hildegard and Gunter retired and
a new Board of Directors took over the running of The Bradley Centre.