Sara Walmsley attaches a string of lights to a tree in Williams Park. It was her first visit to the Langley park since she launched a campaign that saved the annual light show from thieves. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

VIDEO: The return of the girl who saved Christmas

Sara Walmsley helped preserve the annual Williams Park light display

When some friends heard that Sara Walmsley was going to be stringing up Christmas lights in Langley’s Williams Park, they got all excited, she said.

“Oh that’s awesome, maybe you’re in the news again,” they told her.

And sure enough, there was a Times reporter on the scene, taking pictures of her return to the park at 238 Street and 68 Avenue as a volunteer, two years after she became known as the “girl who saved Christmas.”

Sara was nine in 2015 when the annual event was nearly canceled because of theft.

Thieves had made off with around $10,000 worth of lights stored at the park, the second such theft in two years.

Organizers were talking about calling it off.

“I felt bad because this is what we did every year,” she said.

So she started a campaign to restore the annual event, asking everyone she could think of to collect and donate lights.

Sara’s campaign to replace the stolen lights and save the event is credited with starting the ball rolling and encouraging others to step in.

As donations and offers of help flooded in, Christmas in Williams Park Society president Barb Sharp announced “a leap of faith” and said the park would light up from Dec. 11 to Dec. 21.

On the day the lights were officially turned on, Township mayor Jack Froese introduced Sara to her tree, an artificial one that lit up and sparkled brightly.

“It’s really cool,” Walmsley said as she watched the lights flicker.

READ MORE: The girl who saved Christmas

Two years later, Walmsley and a friend were happily untangling strings of lights and wrapping them around tree branches.

She said she was happy that the campaign worked and the lights were restored, but was a little taken aback by all the attention directed at her, which she said was both “weird” and “awesome.”.

“I didn’t think it was going to be that much,” she said.

“I got recognized a couple of times from the newspaper and the news, (with people) saying oh, you’re the girl in the newspaper.”

Since then, the attention has eased up, “sort of,” she said.

To her, the important thing is the lights.

“They make me feel happy,” she said, “all the colours and everything being so bright and happy.

“That’s what we do at our house, we have a house full of lights and decorations and it’s awesome, spreading Christmas cheer.”

On the day that she was stringing lights, she learned that her tree had been temporarily removed from the parks for repairs.

It was a wiring problem, parks staff explained, and they promised it would be fixed and “Sara’s tree” would be returned as soon as possible.

Sara seemed fine with that.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A younger Sara Walmsley poses with her tree for a 2015 Times article. File photo

Just Posted

Township unveils new plans for museums, cultural centre, Aboriginal arts lodge

New homes and shops also included in Fort Langley proposals

‘There was nowhere to go’ — Langley couple caught in false Hawaii missile alert

Drew and Kailey St. Cyr were on their honeymoon in Hawaii when they received a terrifying message

Union files human rights complaint over Chilliwack school trustee’s LGBTQ comments

Board and trustee Barry Neufled facing $50,000 tribunal charge over alleged ‘unsafe work environment’

Aldergrove seniors centre invites new members to join

Aldergrove Veterans and Seniors Society has been serving senior citizens and guests since 1980

Stealth work OT, come through with first win

Joel McCready nets winner, Eric Penney makes 52 saves as Vancouver knocks off Buffalo

UPDATED: SUV fire at Langley mall (with video)

Firefighters respond to Fraser Highway incident

Pipeline routing through Chilliwack subject of NEB hearing Monday

City of Chilliwack, WaterWealth Project and local Sto:lo intervenors in the hearing

Aldergrove Star Calendar

Calendar of events and activities in Aldergrove and area

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

Vancouver Island marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Aphria’s annual production forecast increases to 230,000 kgs

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Fraser Valley truck driver killed in Alberta semi truck crash

Young driver was adjusting load on side of highway to Fort McMurray

Drivers urged to slow down during Alex Fraser Bridge construction

Work crews are installing a snow removal system and movable counterflow lane

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Most Read