Tiny Tim is all grown up.
And this Christmas season, he’ll be collecting funds for seasonal charities.
For the first time in 15 years, ‘Mr. Marley’ will have company when he visits Langley businesses to ‘scare up’ donations to the Langley Christmas Bureau and other charities.
Sixty-year-old accountant Wayne Kuyer and and his business partner, Stephen de Verteuil, began the drive as Scrooge & Marley in 1996. After de Verteuil, who played Scrooge, passed away from cancer in 2002, Kuyer carried on the tradition alone.
From Dec. 12 to 18, when Kuyer once again dons a period costume to morph into Mr. Marley from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, he’ll be joined by Kyle Murray, playing the role of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s humble, underpaid clerk and father of six children, including Tiny Tim.
Murray, who happens to be Kuyer’s son-in-law and who is a fellow accountant, is no stranger to Dickens. He played the role of Cratchit’s sickly, youngest son in high school productions of A Christmas Carol.
Now the six-foot-two Murray will take on the role of Tiny Tim’s dad when he and Kuyer tour businesses in Brookwood, Langley City, Murrayville, and Walnut Grove.
In Dickens’ story, re-told in various mediums over the 174 years since A Christmas Carol was first published, Mr. Marley returns to Scrooge’s home as a ghost, foretelling three spirits that will visit on the evening of Dec. 24.
And while the goal is to collect as much money as possible for charity, the local merchants are given plenty of notice of Marley and Cratchit’s arrival, and are by no means obligated to make a donation.
“Our target is our existing contributors, so we send out a letter to those who have contributed in the past and advise them that Scrooge and Marley are on the prowl,” he said. “It also helps us. “By getting them to acknowledge that we’re looking for (donations), I’m usually able to pick up a cheque.
“A lot of our contributors have been doing this for years, so it’s become a tradition for them. They quite enjoy it.”
Kuyer shows up in character, noting that the first words he utters as he walks into the businesses are “Bah, humbug!”
Murray has been with Kuyer & Associates since January and has been following the fundraising campaign for years.
“When I came (on board) it was never really a question of whether I would join, but what character I would get to play,” Murray said.
“He’s too big to play Tiny Tim,” Kuyer quipped.
“I was getting ready for those crutches,” Murray added with a laugh.
Christmas is a time for introspection, Murray said. “You can take a look and say how lucky we are to be able to contribute our time and get out there and make people smile, and be in costume.”
Over its first 11 years, the Scrooge & Marley Christmas Fund has generated $249,428.76 and the goal for 2017 is to add another $20,000 to that total.
Last year, the Scrooge & Marley Christmas Fund collected $20,828.
Its most prolific year was 2013, when $22,375 was collected, a far cry from its inaugural year, when $1,600 in donations was raised.
Kuyer said there will be a new vibe this year.
“I’m going to make my clerk do all the work,” he said before adding, “it’s always easier to do it with somebody else because then you can play off each other a little bit. Steve and I used to have that option. When I went on my own I had to be a little more innovative.”