South Surrey rugby team helps turn taps for legacy Thai water project

Tara Trompetter commends EMS, community efforts inspired by her late son

Children in a remote Thai village took their first sips of clean water last month, thanks in large part to a team of South Surrey athletes who donned dresses to play their sport.

“I just want these boys to realize the impact they made,” Tara Trompetter told Peace Arch News, of fundraising by Earl Marriott Secondary rugby players that enabled a water system to be installed in Pha Dang Luang – the same village where a school opened two years ago in the name of her late son, Ben.

“This is such a beautiful thing. They have changed these lives of these kids.”

Ben Trompetter, who grew up in South Surrey, died nearly six years ago after jumping from a cliff northeast of Pemberton into the glacial waters of Anderson Lake.

Prior to returning to the Lower Mainland that fateful summer, the 27-year-old had spent much time as a guide in Thailand, where he developed a passion for bettering the lives of children at the local orphanages.

Trips to Pha Dang Luang were a regular thing for Ben, who rode a motorbike up the rugged mountain road on his time off work to spend time with the children, teaching them English, or playing soccer with makeshift nets.

The Live Like Ben Foundation formed to help continue Ben’s legacy of helping, and ‘Ben’s School’ – the foundation’s first project – opened in that same village in January 2016.

Tara Trompetter said plans for a water supply were already in mind at that time, but just how urgent the need was wasn’t clear until more recently.

“The men were getting kidney stones and the children were getting sick,” she said. “They didn’t want us to know. They kept saying ‘no, Mama, it’s OK. School good, school good.’”

The EMS team’s ‘Prom Dress Rugby Game’ was initiated after coach Adam Roberts – an old friend of Ben’s – ran into Tara Trompetter at a local gas station. Roberts recalled that the ‘Live Like Ben’ wristband he’s worn since his friend died was starting to break.

During their conversation, Roberts asked if there was any way he could help.

“I said, ‘funny you should say that – we need some water,’” Trompetter said.

While a plan for the rugby team to actually travel to Thailand didn’t work out, the prom-dress game went ahead last fall, raising $2,500 for the water project.

The funds – which were topped up by $600 in donations from the community – helped install two, 2,000-gallon tanks and five taps, Trompetter said. Extra funds bought enough ceramic filters to last six months, and funds have been set aside to ensure those purchases can continue as needed.

“They now have enough drinking water,” Trompetter said.

A “so beautiful” video of the late-March installation has been posted to the Ben Trompetter – One Love, One Life Facebook page, and Trompetter said she can’t wait for the rugby team to see it for themselves.

Roberts, who became friends with Ben through rugby, said getting the team involved in the water project has “just been fantastic.”

It tied in with efforts to do philanthropy whenever the team travels abroad for games, he said.

For Roberts, this particular project was made especially meaningful by the connection to Ben.

A group of students are planning to travel to the village over the summer to see firsthand the impact their efforts had, he added.

For Trompetter, the continued work in her son’s name is heartwarming.

“It’s beautiful, and it’s beautiful for my children (Ben’s sister Meghan and brother Tyler). They see that Ben’s still here with us,” she said. “They just can’t believe what we’ve been able to do in memory of Ben.

“We’re so grateful.”


Children of Pha Dang Luang test the water, which is now delivered clean to their remote Thai village, thanks to funds raised by the EMS rugby team. (Facebook photo)

Contributed photo Specially attired members of the EMS senior boys rugby team last fall.

(Facebook photo)

Ben Trompetter (left) died in 2012 but the Live Like Ben Foundation, created in his honour, raises money for a variety of initiatives in Thailand. Most recently, it used funds raised by EMS rugby players to install a water system for the village where ‘Ben’s School’ was built. (File photo)

Just Posted

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Spawning salmon returning to North Delta’s Cougar Creek

It’s early in the season, but the streamkeepers are hopeful it could be a good year for returns

Former Surrey gymnast shining on rugby pitch for Bayside

An injury forced Brady Reeleder to switch sports, and now he’s thriving at his new endeavour

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Giants serve up major defeat to Pats at Langley Events Centre

On the ice, Vancouver G-Men wrap up home stand with a 10-4 win over Regina Friday night.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

New chair of Metro Vancouver board is Burnaby councillor

The 40-person board is made up of elected officials from 21 cities and one First Nation

Most Read