Legendary Thompson baseball promoter Red Sangster received the latest in a long list of accolades at the Burntwood Hotel on Oct. 20, when Thompson MLA Steve Ashton and Churchill MP Niki Ashton presented him with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his decades of service to Thompson and Northern Manitoba.
“I looked up to Red in the sixties and seventies when I was a kid and I still look up to him today,” said Steve Ashton at the medal presentation. “I couldn’t be more proud of anyone accepting this than I am for you.”
To commemorate the 60th year of Elizabeth II’s reign as Queen of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint produced 60,000 Diamond Jubilee Medals for presentation to civic-minded Canadians throughout 2012.
“It’s about community service but also about the long-term inve4stment in the community,” said Niki Ashton. “It’s a recognition by the governor general’s office of the tremendous commitment you’ve made to our community and really, to our country. I couldn’t think of any more fitting person from my hometown, our home community, to receive this award than you.
Steve Ashton also noted that this isn’t the only honour Red has received recently.
“I was very pleased recently when Red was nominated for and accepted the Order of Thompson,” he said. “In my mind, it was long overdue. We don’t do enough in Thompson sometimes to recognize the people who built this community.”
Born in 1924, Sangster has been involved in Thompson sports and recreation since his arrival in the city more than 50 years ago. A former recreation director and the namesake both of Thompson’s senior men’s baseball team and the baseball diamond on the Thompson Regional Community Centre grounds, Sangster was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, while the 1968-1973 Thompson Reds were inducted in the special team category in 2003. This past summer, the senior men’s pprovincial baseball championships were held in Thompson after years of lobbying by Red and others involved with Thompson baseball, persistence that was acknowledged by Steve Ashton, who admitted he’d been the target of that same persistence in the past, most recently when the construction of the new University College of the North campus threatened the continued existence of the Red Sangster Ball Diamond.
“[The provincial championships] should have happened a couple of years ago,” said Steve Ashton. “Red didn’t give up, you guys didn’t up, right, and it was a huge success. After what Red did in the sixties and all the work Red did for the rec department after that, all the work he did, he could have been sitting back, taking it easy for the last 20, 25 or 30 years. What I really admire about Red is he’s still at it. He’s still pushing. By the way, I’ve been on the receiving end of that a few times, Red, but always in a good way.”
When the Thompson MLA said he was sure receiving this latest honour wouldn’t prevent Red Sangster from pursuing further project, the Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient assured Steve Ashton he’d know about them when they cam along.
“I’ll get a hold of you,” said Red Sangster. “I’ve got your phone number.”