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Port aux Basques welcomes Ontario fundraisers with screeching-in ceremony

Walter Reich, who is riding across Canada as a fundraiser for Parkinsons disease, arrived in Newfoundland and was greeted in true Newfoundland fashion – with a screeching in. Here, Port aux Basques Mayor John Spencer, right, holds the cod for Reich to kiss. CONTRIBUTED BY JOAN CHAISSON
Walter Reich, who is riding across Canada as a fundraiser for Parkinsons disease, arrived in Newfoundland and was greeted in true Newfoundland fashion – with a screeching in. Here, Port aux Basques Mayor John Spencer, right, holds the cod for Reich to kiss. CONTRIBUTED BY JOAN CHAISSON - Contributed
CHANNEL-PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L. —

JOAN CHAISSON
SPECIAL TO THE GULF NEWS

When Walter Reich and his team arrived in Port aux Basques Sept. 24, he was greeted in true Newfoundland style: A breakfast feast and a screening-in ceremony.

Reich is travelling across Canada to raise funds and awareness for Parkinsons disease.

Walter Reich prepares to leave Port aux Basques Sept. 24. The Ontario resident rides about 100 kilometres per day. CONTRIBUTED BY JOAN CHAISSON
Walter Reich prepares to leave Port aux Basques Sept. 24. The Ontario resident rides about 100 kilometres per day. CONTRIBUTED BY JOAN CHAISSON

Reich and his wife, Regula, who is originally from Switzerland, moved to Canada 24 years ago when they built a hotel/restaurant in Magnetewan, ON. Regula has relatives with Parkinsons, which prompted Reich to do a lot of fundraising over the years in the Parry Sound area while they were working. It was always his dream to do a cross-country bicycle ride when he retired, and combining that with a fundraiser seemed like a good fit, he says.

Reich rides approximately 100 kilometres each day and they stay in a motorhome during the night with the rest of the team.

Reich started his journey on April 12 in Tofino, Vancouver Island, and he arrived in Nova Scotia on Aug. 3. The couple then took a six-week break to visit Switzerland for family commitments and are now back on their journey.

Port aux Basques stop

The breakfast, prepared by Dan Clarke, owner of Poppy Dan’s Cafe in the Bruce 11, was a feast with ham, bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs and all the trimmings.

Mayor John Spencer started the ceremony of screeching in the group to make them honorary Newfoundlanders. Each “come from away” had to wear a Sou’wester and Spencer began the ceremony with each person having to figure out what different Newfoundland terms meant. Next, it was on to eating a piece of hard bread, washed down with a swallow of Newfoundland screech, or Coke for the driver. Finally, they had to kiss the lips on a codfish.

Spencer then tapped each on the shoulder with a birch broom to declare them honorary Newfoundlanders. Certificates were awarded to prove they had completed this initiation.

At the gathering, Melvin Keeping and Nadine Cox represented family members whom they have lost to this disease, while Spencer showed the town's support by donating a cheque for $100.

GO ONLINE: To make a donation to Reich’s fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/walter-and-giant

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