Austin Doyle has worked as a volunteer at the Société historique et généalogique de Smoky River in Donnelly for two years, working fulltime during the summer months and on Tuesdays during the winter.
Doyle’s commitment to the Society and his interest in the work the society does derive from his love of history, which of course includes local history.
“I think it was something that was always there,” says Doyle. “Let’s say if there was a documentary on the Titanic then I would want to watch it because it just intrigued me and that interest brought me here.”
Late last year, Doyle took the initiative and on behalf of the Historical Society and sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth II on her seventieth wedding anniversary to Prince Philip.
In the letter, Doyle outlined the kind of work the society undertakes and closed the letter offering the Society’s good wishes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and the extended Royal Family.
“I wanted to commemorate the Queen’s seventieth wedding anniversary with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh,” he says. “I thought it would be extremely important as who knows the next time we will get to e celebrate the seventieth wedding anniversary of a monarch.”
“Austin has a great interest in history and that is what brought him here,” says Society President, Carmen Ewing. “He is our only young volunteer and he does a lot of work for us on our projects. We are really pleased to have him here.”
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on November 20 2017. The Queen and Prince Philip married in London’s Westminster Abbey in 1947, and have the longest marriage in the history of the British Royal Family.
Austin Doyle mailed the letter on November 21 2017 and following the Christmas holidays, the Society received a letter of thanks from Buckingham Palace signed by one of the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting.
Buckingham Palace also sent a card marking the occasion with a photograph of the Royal wedding in 1947 and a photograph of the Royal couple on their seventieth anniversary.
Currently, the letters and card are in a display case at the Smoky River Historical and Genealogical Society in Donnelly, but Society president, Carmen Ewing, says that the Society eventually plans to frame the exhibit and mount it on the wall.
“I think it is very appropriate with us being an historical society that we have something like this to put up,” says Doyle.