Many a tall tale starts with three guys walking into a bar. But this one is 100% true, with a positive outcome to honour a friend.
One day in late 1990 Dal Keam, Jim O’Neill and Larry Ducharme walked into a bar.
The three had met years before at London’s Rideout Tavern, and were looking forward to a cold beer and some witty banter with the crowd of regulars who’d become their fast friends.
Instead they heard sobering news. One of their gang, John Scott, had died suddenly of a heart attack the night before. “He’d worked a Lions Club event until about 1 a.m.,” says Larry, “and then he was gone.”
Inspired by lost friend’s “secret” charity work
As the group discussed this news, a new picture of their friend emerged. They’d known he was Lion, and that he’d lost a young daughter to hydrocephalus a short time ago. Someone heard his family had been involved with a new organization called Sunshine.
“But it turned out John had been quietly doing charity work all over London for years,” says Larry. In that moment, the gang decided they should do something to honour their lost comrade, and the John Scott Memorial Golf Tournament was born.
First golf tournament raises $10K
In 1995, Dal took the lead, and within months he’d organized a hugely successful golf tournament. They chose Sunshine to receive their funds as a further way to honour John’s memory.
“We couldn’t believe how great it felt to hand over that first cheque for $10,000,” remembers Jim. “It inspired us to organize more events – because everybody wanted to say yes once they heard we were helping kids.”
Since then, the John Scott Memorial events have included country music dance nights, ham and turkey raffles, and the signature golf tournament. Over the years they’ve helped generous Londoners support The Sunshine Foundation of Canada with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Thank you, Rideout Tavern Regulars!
Sunshine dreams could never come true without the caring service of volunteers like Dal, Jim, Larry and the rest of the old Rideout Tavern Regulars. Thank you all for your service and support – you’ve made magic happen for almost thirty years.
Self-confessed drinking buddies and long-time Sunshine volunteers Larry Ducharme (L) and Jim O’Neill (R) share a pint as they recall their long years of supporting Sunshine kids. We are so grateful for their caring leadership!