St. Mary’s guardian offers reward

  • Jan. 31, 2005 10:00 a.m.

By Mariah McCooey–Jack Greenwood has posted a $500 reward leading to the conviction of the attackers and flower-pilferers that have been targeting St. Mary.
The Queen Charlotte resident is guardian of the wooden mascot of St. Mary’s Spring, near Lawnhill. He’s been looking after Mary for over 14 years, taking over when her creator, Ted Bellis, passed away.
“And it’s been nothing but trouble,” he said.
In the fourteen years he’s been caretaking, Mary has been chucked off the bank into the ocean at least 12 times, and knocked over about 15 times. “People just keep bashing her, throwing her in the oceanÂ… I just can’t fathom how people do this, why they do it. It’s just insaneÂ… I just don’t know what goes on in their dysfunctional minds.”
And that’s not the only abuse the 30-plus-year-old carving puts up with. The flowers Mr. Greenwood puts on St. Mary keep getting stolen. In fourteen years, he estimates he’s replaced the bouquet at least 150 times. “Damn near every time I go up there, they’re gone.”
Once, some hunters from the Prairies tried to take her home as a souvenir. Mr. Greenwood was on his way to visit the spring, and was shocked when Mary was nowhere to be seen. He became more alarmed when there was no sign of her on the beach, and called the police. Mary was found in the ferry line-up, under a pile of deer carcasses. “I was lucky,” he said.
St. Mary is getting all scarred up. The repeated abuse is taking its toll on the aging mascot, and it’s taking its toll on Mr. Greenwood. “She’s a beautiful, beautiful statue,” he said, “she’s part of the islands – it’s sacrilege (for islanders) to abuse her.” St. Mary is precious to him, he explained – carver Ted Bellis was his “very best friend” and his wife’s uncle.
“Lately I’ve just gotten fed up,” he said. “I put 25 bags of concrete around her. I’m 68 years old, I probably shouldn’t be doing stuff like that – but I had to do it. Hopefully now nobody can move it.”