This year’s annual party by Paddington Station residents in the courtyard of the Langley City Housing complex was one big thank you to the many people and organizations who helped after the Dec. 11 fire that destroyed the fourth floor of one building and left more than 100 people homeless.
One of the invited guest was singer Karen Lee Batten, who organized an all-day concert featuring 13 bands that collected about $60,000 for the fire victims.
“It was a whole ton of people who came together,” Batten said of the fundraiser after finishing her last set with some fellow musicians at the block party.
“I was so thankful to be asked to be back here for this event,” Batten added.
“It’s very near and dear to my heart now. It feels like family.”
Another performer at the block party, Emily Taylor Adams, is a resident of Paddington Station who sang at Batten’s fundraiser.
Mayor Ted Schaffer dropped by, and Langley City fire chief Rory Thompson was presented with a card and a Paddington Bear for the city fire station.
“The community’s done so much for us,” Francis said.
Francis singled out Church in the Valley treasurer Jeff Kapiniak for handling the disbursement of donations, saying it would have been an “administrative nightmare” without him.
The “Paddington to pay it forward” event invited people to wear red and white “in support of our great Canadian communities.” Sponsored by All In Order suites, Home Life Titus Realty and Save-On-Foods the event featured a BBQ, a bouncy castle for kids, balloon twisting, face painting, creative crafts, caricature drawings, a magic show and a 50/50 draw with proceeds going to the Red Cross to support the wildfires.
Paddington strata council president Donna Francis said the response to the block party was better than organizers were hoping for, with close to 100 people coming by to sample food and free entertainment.
“This is the biggest it’s ever been,” Francis said.
The first Paddington block party was organized two years ago by Francis and strata council member Donna Moore to help foster a sense of community in their building to help fight vandalism and other criminal behavior.