Did a recent winner of the Bay Treasure Chest lottery receive a little help from the great beyond?
Frances Payne has just finished visiting Chester and returned to her home in Crossfield, Alberta when her number was picked on November 13, making her the winner of the Bay Treasure Chest fundraising lottery draw, and earning $25,419.
Her brother-in-law Grant Payne of Chester died November 4 after a battle with cancer. As a supporter of the St. Margaret's Bay-based lottery, Payne had purchased a number for life (#22173) and there was talk about retiring his number after his death, however, Frances asked the family if she could take it over. They agreed.
The number was then entered in the November 13 draw.
"I had the honour of taking over his number and the key thing was that on November 6 when they took all my information, I said to my sister-in-law, Cosette by text, that if his number was chosen I would make sure to use the funds to get his Alberta family home," said Payne.
"Be darned if his number wasn't picked. We were all flabbergasted when the phone call came in. I absolutely believe he had a hand in it," she added.
Payne travelled to Chester to visit Grant and family from October 31 and was able to be with him and his family for five days, returning to Alberta the day after Grant died. She had to return to Alberta prior to the service as her son's fifth child was due at any time and they were on a high risk alert because of a family history of pre-term babies.
Grant and his family are long-time Chester residents with family living on what they refer to as "Payne Hill." He was a member of the fire department and the legion for 47 years. He worked as a long-time employee at Canexel, and loved his boats, The Dart, and Knot Shore.
"He was well respected and a much-loved man. He was always considerate and very kind," said Payne. "He never judged or criticized anybody. He loved his life and he loved his family and where he lived. He was a good man and we lost him way too early."
Grant was 68 years old when he died of cancer. Payne said they had been monitoring him for a couple of years before recently going in to see if they could remove the tumours, but by then it was too late. In July, he was given eight months to live.
The funeral service was held November 9 at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Chester.
His ashes and fire gear rode on the back of the old pumper truck in a parade of fire trucks through the village of Chester on November 9. The truck, as was requested by Grant, was driven by long-time friend and fellow firefighter, Barry Schnare.
The Alberta connection started in the 1970s when Grant's brothers, Gary and Boyd moved out to Alberta.
This is where Gary and Frances met and they were married for 36 years before deciding to separate 10 years ago.
However, "the family wasn't going to let me go. I was absolutely blown away by that because a lot of times when the relationship ends, it means the family as well," said Payne. "However, his mom and dad said, 'no, you are our daughter.'"
She calls Chester home and returns almost every year and stays with Grant's mother, Mae.
Payne says that she is staying true to her word and expects that about 20 relatives will return to the Chester area next summer in honour of Grant.
"I think of coming home next summer and him not being there makes me sad," said Payne. "But I do have some very excited grandchildren that will get to go and meet their nanny."
She is unsure that they will have another ceremony for Grant during this time, but they will definitely be honouring him in one way or another.
Grant was married to Betty and they had two sons, David and Daniel. His siblings included brother Gary, Wayne and sister, Cosette.
Grant's death due to cancer was the second to occur in the family. His brother, Boyd, died in 1989.
The Bay Treasure Chest is a weekly 50/50 draw that gives players an opportunity to win cash, while supporting local community service organizations.