New fund established to help Neepawa Cemetery


By Kate Jackman-Atkinson

The Neepawa Press/Neepawa Banner

Neepawa is known for its beautiful cemetery and a newly established charitable fund aims to preserve and enhance that beauty forever.  Last year, life-long Neepawa resident Wilma Gill established the Riverside Cemetery fund, a designated fund within Beautiful Plains Community Foundation.  Each year, income generated by the fund will be used for upkeep and beautification of the cemetery.

For Gill, the cemetery is an important local asset and a popular tourist attraction. “It’s an important part of the community… And one of the most beautiful cemeteries,” she said. As a volunteer tour guide with the Neepawa Lily Festival, Gill said she was able to share the attraction with many visitors. She notes that many bus tours still stop at the cemetery, both to see famous author Margaret Laurence’s grave, as well as to enjoy the site’s beauty.   

Gill also has a close personal connection to Riverside Cemetery— all of her family, including her grandparents are buried there.  “I’ve lived in the community all my life. I grew up taking part in community events,” she said. 

She explained that budget constraints at the Town of Neepawa limit the beautification work that can be done at the cemetery and she hopes her donation, as well as those of others, will help the fund grow and provide additional money to keep the site beautiful. “This is my way of giving back,” she said.

While the fund was established by Gill, anyone can make a donation and any donations over $10 are eligible for a tax receipt.  “I want to see it thrive and the beauty continue,” said Gill. Since the original donation has been set up as an endowment fund through the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation, the principal is never spent.  Each year, a portion of the interest earned on all donations that make up the fund will be used to provide a grant to the Town of Neepawa to use for beautification of the cemetery. Anyone interested in donation to the Riverside Cemetery Fund can contact the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation at 204-476-2681.