When auctioneer Fred Lee was asked to read one final announcement as the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser was winding down at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse on Saturday, Sept. 25, there was a moment of disbelief.
“Are you serious?” Lee asked.
Assured that it was, Lee then told the audience that Vesta Properties,the presenting sponsor of the evening, would also be donating $500,000 to Langley Hospice Society and the firefighters Langley School Snack Program, the beneficiaries of the evening fundraiser, “A Taste of Cabaret.”
“I’m gobsmacked,” the amazed Lee commented.
“We all were,” McLay observed.
“It was a pretty big surprise.”
Attendees gave Vesta a standing ovation.
It was an emotional moment for Shannon Todd Booth, communication and funds development manager with the Langley Hospice Society, who shared a hug with society president Kathy Derksen when the announcement was made.
“We had no idea,” an “overwhelmed” Todd Booth reacted.
“It will go a long way.”
Kent & Julie Sillars of Vesta Properties Ltd. issued a joint statement following the event.
“Vesta is proud to be a Langley based company and has been a part of this community for the past 32 years. We are committed to contributing positively to the communities in which we live, work and build in. It was such a pleasure to join with the ToL Firefighters Charity Organization at the Mayors Gala this past weekend to help raise funds for the Langley Hospice and the Langley School Snack programs. These initiatives are very dear to our hearts and we are so thankful to do business in such a beautiful city that we proudly call home.”
Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese called it a “nice surprise.”
“It just shows the generosity in the community,” Froese continued, praising Vesta for being so civic-minded.
“They’re a good group,” Froese remarked.
Froese estimated that the three mayor’s galas to date have raised more than $2 million for charity.
Totals from the gala were still being tallied as of Sunday, but initial estimates show the event raised about $600,000, including the Vesta donation, along with $15,000 from the live action, and donations of $10,000 from Phil and Barb Jackman, and $10,000 from Ann Blaauw.
Mclay said attendance at the event was about a third of the size of the previous galas, in order to meet COVID-19 restrictions.
“We were well under what the public health officer [required for indoor gatherings],” McLay said.
In addition, all who attended were vaccinated, with at least one shot, McLay added.
It was probably “the most challenging” of the galas to organize, McLay told the Langley Advance Times.
He described how coronavirus restrictions kept shifting, and it was a scramble to keep up, as the potential for the event evolved from an online-only version to one where limited in-person attendance was possible.
Emceed by Erin Cebula, the gala featured a three-course dinner by chef Welbert Choi and the Forage culinary team, music by Karla Sax, and the Surrey Pipe and Drum band, with a procession by the Township of Langley Honour Guard, as well as Cabaret dance performances.
It was great to be part of the 3rd Annual Mayor's Charitable Gala over the weekend in the Township of Langley. Fantastic to see the support for the new @LangleyHospice Society Residence Project and the @TLFCS Endowment Fund. #LangleyBC pic.twitter.com/zSUUwAZ46m
— John Aldag (@jwaldag) September 27, 2021
Funds raised by the gala will do more than meet the stated goal of “warm up the tub and turn on the lights” – funding a specialized spa and bathing room for patients that will have a temperate-controlled tub, blanket warmer, and quiet, retreat-like space.
READ ALSO: VIDEO: New Langley Hospice takes shape
The new 15-room hospice is under construction at 22008 52nd Ave., down the hill from Langley Memorial Hospital and the current 10-bed residence housed in Cedar Hill and Maple Hill long term care facilities.
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