VIDEO: A big surprise at third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala in Langley

The third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)The third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Mayor Jack Froese (centre) called the unexpected $500,000 contribution by Vesta Properties a “nice surprise” at the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser, held at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)Mayor Jack Froese (centre) called the unexpected $500,000 contribution by Vesta Properties a “nice surprise” at the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser, held at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Vesat Properties surprised the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse with a $500,000 donations at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)Vesat Properties surprised the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse with a $500,000 donations at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)
It was smaller than previous versions, but the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)It was smaller than previous versions, but the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)
The third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)The third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Jhim Burwell/Special to Langley Advance Times)
It was smaller than previous versions, but the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Brad Peters/Special to Langley Advance Times)It was smaller than previous versions, but the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse ended up raising more than $600,000, according to preliminary estimates of the funds raised at the Saturday, Sept. 25 event. (Brad Peters/Special to Langley Advance Times)

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.

He wasn’t the only one, according to Steve McLay, co-director of the Township of Langley Firefighters Charitable Society, the event organizers.

“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.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Mayor’s Gala, auction to support Langley Hospice Society residence

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.

COVID precautions were in place at the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse on Saturday, Sept. 25, with all participants vaccinated with at least one shot, the firefighters charity said. (Brad Peters/Special to Langley Advance Times)

COVID precautions were in place at the third annual Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse on Saturday, Sept. 25, with all participants vaccinated with at least one shot, the firefighters charity said. (Brad Peters/Special to Langley Advance Times)

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.

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.


Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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Charity and DonationsCoronavirusLangleyLangley Hospice Society