Family thrilled with namesake

The Forrests were never expecting to have a field named after them.

Denny and Mary became active in the community once their kids started playing sports and that propelled them on a rewarding journey of volunteering.

New to Ladysmith in 1975, the Forrests found getting out in the community was the best way to meet people.

“You need to get out and get involved in something.”

Those relationships formed through sports are still strong today, said Mary.

“It was a lot of fun years,” she added.

Now, more than a week after the naming ceremony where the artificial all-weather turf field was renamed

Forrest Field, Denny and Mary were still having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea.

Denny said their Facebook page has been flooded by well-wishers.

“It’s absolutely amazing. It’s forever.”

Denny said they are planning a family gathering at the field soon, including relatives from the mainland, to celebrate the new family field.

It’s a pretty big deal for this family, said Denny, to have their named attached to such a state-of-the-art field.

“They built it right, it’s going to last.”

Mary remembers back in their coaching days, they issued 12 bleach bottles full of sand and told coaches to mark out the fields.

His sports coaching began with baseball back in the early 80s and his resume grew to include coaching the men’s fastball team for more than 20 years.

Denny still takes an active role in a memorial ball tournament to honour their son David, who passed away in 1993. It has been a tradition on the May long weekend for nine- and 10-year-olds. It is held at Dogwood and High Street field.

“It’s a great little tournament,” he said.

Their other son, Paul, was one of the original 49ers.

He was always coaching and Mary always wound up on the executive.

Denny has also enjoyed seeing the kids grow up.

“It’s a great feeling to see where they go and keep track over the years.”

Sports has always been a big part of Denny’s life, who said his favourite is a toss-up between soccer and baseball.

His next mission is to see his new namesake getting used more, that means starting an 35+ team and U21 team.

Mary said she has always been passionate about sports, but coming from Australia, was focussed more on Aussie Rules Football than the game of North American soccer.

“We didn’t know anyone who played soccer.”

That said, Mary loves that soccer is easy to play and affordable for kids with parents in all income brackets.“There’s a piece of grass somewhere.”

It wasn’t all sports for the Forrests. Mary was involved in the hospital auxiliary and Boys and Girls Club and was a member of the Arbutus Spinners and Weavers. Denny served on council for two terms and both were involved in the school system.