IBS Crest The Irish Benevolent Society of London
The Irish Benevolent Society, since 1877, has provided an opportunity in the London area for
the Irish and their descendants of all faiths, and their friends, to work together in harmony
for the purpose of preserving their Irish heritage and performing works of benevolence.

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Charles Patrick Corbett – Honourary Life Member

Charles Patrick CorbettCharles Patrick was born in his father's logging camp in Commanda in the Parry Sound District in 1926, the only child of Harold Meadd and Ellen Muriel (Hasket) Corbett. His Irish roots go back to County Tipperary on both sides of the family. His great-great grandparents, Patrick and Eliza (Spearman) Corbett and Eliza's father John Spearman arrived in 1818 with the Talbot Settlers and took up land in Goulbourn Township in the Ottawa Valley. Their son John and his wife Jane (Lewis) Corbett – whose parents were also part of the Talbot group – moved to McGillivray Township in 1842. The Haskett family arrived in London Township in the 1850s and latermoved to Lucan where Charles Patrick's grandfather Charles Haskett became an undertaker and cabinetmaker.

When Charles Patrick was 4, the family moved to Lucan where he attended elementary and high school. He graduated from Acadia University in 1947 with a Batchelor of Science & Applied Science Certificate, and in 1949 from McGill with a Batchelor of Engineering. That same year he returned to Lucan to work for Lt Col Archibald, P.Eng., of London and, more importantly, to marry Elizabeth Young.

In 1952 he opened an engineering and surveying office in Lucan, was elected to the Lucan Public School Board and was appointed the Village of Lucan representative to the recently-formed Ausable River Conservation Authority. He has been an active member of his church community,serving as Warden of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Lucan and St Mary's Brinsley. He was instrumental in establishing the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association in 1966, serving as President in 1969. In 1974 he joined the board of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Foundation. Always an active Freemason, he was elected District Deputy Grand Master for the South Huron Masonic District in 1979.

In 1983 he closed his engineering office, entered municipal politics and was acclaimed to McGillivray Township Municipal Council. In 1986 he was elected Reeve of McGillivray and served as Warden of Middlesex County in 1989.

In 1996 Charles Patrick saw an item in the London Free Press about the Irish Benevolent Society including a photo of his friend Ed Carson. Charles Patrick called Ed to find out more and Ed suggested he attend the upcoming St Patrick's Day Luncheon. When he got there, he found the event was sold out, but the door keepers eventually relented and he was able to attend. He was asked back the following year and shortly afterwards was invited to join the Board.

He was elected President in 1999, and the following year took over from John B. Carson as Treasurer. Shortly after that he was asked to take the minutes, a service he provided (in the unofficial role of "Corresponding Secretary") until 2016 when Jim Hardy was appointed Secretary.

While he was Treasurer it was discovered that the records of a fairly substantial investment had gone missing some time before. He and Jim Hardy did a great deal of work to locate and recover the investment which, once retrieved, added significantly to the IBS Endowment Fund, putting the organization on a sound financial footing and adding greatly to the organization's ability to provide a number of annual grants and awards.

He chaired or served on the St Patrick's Day Planning Committee for the next 20 years, playing a key role in the expansion of this signature event. Charles Patrick created a contact list beginning with 50 or 60 people who usually attended, primarily from the London area. He then began adding people from the Lucan-Biddulph area whom he knew to have Irish backgrounds and thought might be interested. Before long, so many Lucan-area people were attending the lunch that they began to charter a bus. The contact list grew to more than 400 names, and the event outgrew its previous venues, moving to the Carousel Room at Western Fair regularly with 300-400 attending. He also began to produce a printed table program to encourage interest in the IBS and promote its goals.

Charles Patrick's contribution to the IBS was recognized with a Leprechaun Award in 2006 and appointment as Honourary Life Member at the 2019 Annual General Meeting.

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