Going to Donna Nicholas’ house is like entering another world, a world we only know from fairytale books and never thought it would exist in our hectic world.
In the back of her main house stands this beautifully adorned teahouse with a welcome gate and smoke billowing out of the chimney on this cool fall afternoon.
Sitting at the top of the table, looking at you with vivid eyes, carefully thinking what to say, her answers often interrupted with a hearty laugh, Donna explains and tells how she has been augmenting the Larry Nicholas bursary for more than 30 years, often funded by donations she receives at her charming teahouse.
Donna Nicholas is the hub and centre of the Larry Nicholas Memorial bursary that was established in 1983 by Dennis Zahara after the tragic death of her son, Larry, and his friend, Dick, in a mountain climbing accident.
The money has been invested by the Central Okanagan Foundation and the money earned is distributed by the Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society to applying students from graduating classes of the Central Okanagan school district. Every year, the successful applicant may receive around $500 for sports and outdoor education and recreation. The main contributor to the bursary is the Kelowna Running Club with the annual Larry Nicholas Memorial cross country run.
“I want to ensure that the numbers of runners are kept up,” Donna says. “With the continuation of the bursary it was like Larry’s life made somehow a contribution and young people will benefit from it. I cannot fully express my gratitude for the Running Club having done this every year.”
Donna was an enthusiastic runner herself, running all 11 series races, six cross country races and two marathons in 1999, being awarded the runner of the year title in that year.
“Larry really loved running,” Donna says. “I want the Larry Nicholas run to be affordable.”
This year’s entry fee for the Larry Nicholas run is set at $ 12 and will hopefully again attract more runners, keeping the bursary growing and the memory of Larry Nicholas alive.
The 31st annual Larry Nicholas Memorial 9 K run is part of the Interior Running Association series and will be held on Sunday, Nov. 2 in Kelowna.
For more information visit kelownarunningclub.com