, Derry, New Hampshire

August 22, 2013

Londonderry senior center welcomes new leader

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — The town’s seniors have a new leader.

The Londonderry Senior Center welcomed Catherine Blash, 57, as the new senior affairs director. She will be paid $33,658 a year for the 29-hour-a-week position.

Brash comes to the center to lead programming and activities following the resignation in February of former director Stacy Thrall.

Brash said she wanted to apply for the job after serving as a coordinator for Rockingham Nutrition Meals on Wheels.

That job helped her get to know many of the local seniors.

“Not a day went by that I didn’t get a hug from somebody,” Blash said.

She said she became aware of the director’s opening and decided to apply.

“I knew I could do it,” she said.

She also has done a lot of volunteer work, including with the United Way.

The Atkinson resident is also a licensed real estate agent.

“I look forward to coming here every day,” Blash said.

She credited Gladys Frederick for her guidance and support during the transitional time at the center.

Frederick took much of the lead at the center, Blash said, during the transition into a new director.

“She’s still teaching me things,” Blash said. “I’m going to be working hand in hand with her and I want to keep the seniors happy.”

In addition to welcoming Blash, seniors are looking forward to possible renovations and repairs to the building.

The Mayflower Grange dates back to the early 1900s, when it was used for various community events and meetings.

Repairs to the building are long overdue.

During a recent Capital Improvement Projects meeting, senior center representatives told town officials there was still much work to be done.

The center’s roof tops the list. When it snows heavily, the roof needs to be cleared often. Areas ripe for expanded space include the kitchen, and adding new bathrooms and office space.

New parking is also proposed for the rear of the historic building.

Right now, repairs could cost up to $700,000. Officials said grant funding might be available to cover some of the repair costs.