VIDEO: Memorial toy drive more than doubles donations

People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. It was hosted by McPherson’s older sister Jennie, younger sister Mariah Godard, and mother, Susan Simning. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. It was hosted by McPherson’s older sister Jennie, younger sister Mariah Godard, and mother, Susan Simning. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)
People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)People dropped by throughout the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Murray Creek Ranch to drop off toys for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Brad McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, which included pony rides and visits with Santa. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Donors walked into the Murray Creek Ranch barn Saturday, some lugging boxes of unwrapped toys, other bearing gift cards, and yet others simply offering cash.

But what they all had in common was a desire to pay tribute to the late Bradley McPherson and to help ensure children from under privileged homes have a brighter Christmas this holiday season.

It was the second annual Magic of Christmas Bradley McPherson Memorial Toy Drive, and the turn out was very meaningful to McPherson’s two sisters and their mother, the trio on hand running the event.

“Being that he loved Christmas and everything about Christmas, we decided to do a toy run and this is our second annual,” said McPherson’s mother, Susan Simning.

McPherson, 28 at the time, was shot to death at a Christmas Eve party in 2011 in a Newton home after coming to the aid of a woman being harassed. In 2018, a 26-year-old man was found guilty of second-degree murder and given a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 15 years for the crime.

The toy drive in McPherson’s memory was started last Christmas.

“As we approached the 10-year mark of losing Brad, we decided to give back in a bigger way to kids,” Simning explained.

And while she was moved by the contributions collected last year, Mom said there were “way more” donations received this year – possibly double.

In addition to collecting a lot more toys, Simning also collected $500 in cash and another $500 in gift cards – all going to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

This isn’t the only charity event organized by the family to remember McPherson.

An annual Burnouts in the Sky car show has been held every year since 2013, raising money for student scholarships in McPherson’s name. It has moved around a bit, but the 11th show will once again be held at George Preston Recreation Centre on July 29, 2023.

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Saturday’s four-hour fundraiser for the Christmas bureau included pony rides, a hot chocolate and hotdog station for kids, a whisky-tasting station for adults, and visits with Santa.

Santa Steve, surrounded by a variety of custom and collector cars, posed for photographs with adults and children alike through the afternoon.

“We’re hoping everyone is going to come through here and drop off lots of toys. It’s a wonderful, wonderful charitable effort,” said Santa.

Simning’s oldest daughter, Jennie McPherson, credited her mother with pulling it all together.

“Our mom is the one who puts everything together. She has worked endlessly to make sure that beautiful cars are here, Santa is here, there’s a tree here, she made a replica North Pole. She wanted to make everything very special for today, for the children and families that come, and make today as memorable as we can in honour of my brother and for Christmas,” Jennie said.

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Organizers have also created a memorial calendar that is still on sale, with half the proceeds going to the bureau and the other half to the McPherson scholarship fund, Simning said.

“If anyone wants to purchase the calendars they are $20. It’s full of beautiful vehicles that have been at our car shows over the years,” she elaborated. They can contact Susan via email at burnoutsinthesky@gmail.com, by phone at 604-360-7455, or online at burnoutsinthesky.com.

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