Student steps up to help after Grinches steal Christmas lights

A nine-year-old Langley girl has launched an effort to help save the Christmas in Williams Park annual festivities.

Sara Walmsley, made up her mind up while she was leaning over her mother Brie’s shoulder, reading the Langley Advance.

She read the story about how thieves had stolen thousands of dollars worth of lights, for the second year in a row, from the festival’s storage unit.

Organizers had feared they would have to completely cancel the annual two-week event.

“Once I read that I wanted to do something right away,” Sara said.

She decided to ask people if they had any spare lights or extension cords to bring them to her school, Alex Hope Elementary in Walnut Grove.

Along with some friends, she started putting up posters, first at the school and now around the community. Her principal has allowed her to make announcements over the school PA for the past several days as well, and local residents can bring in LED lights during school hours.

As of Friday evening, the school has already collected five boxes of lights.

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Save Christmas at Williams Park

Christmas at Williams Park decorations were stolen. But there’s an effort afoot to save it.

 

Organizers of the annual celebration that has been so popular with children and families hope to continue the tradition…but they need your help.

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The Walmsley family has been going to the annual light show for years.

"We try and go every year,” Brie said.

The two-week event allows drivers to head through the park slowly each night, and usually ends with a weekend of festivities, with hot chocolate, entertainment, and a visit from Santa Claus.

“It was full of lights and cutouts and blowups, and all kind of activities,” Sara said of her past visits.

“It’s getting you all excited for Christmas,” she said of the event.

Sara’s efforts are one campaign among several that have sprung up to help the non-profit Christmas in Williams Park Society.

After the second theft was publicized, locals began coming forward with offers of help, and Sharp is now hopeful that at least a partial event can be organized with some new fundraising.

“There’s a groundswell kind of starting,” Sharp said.

If the society can put together some funding and a few more volunteers, it could still run a two-week light up event, though the annual weekend festivities might still be out of the question, Sharp said.

Still, it would allow people to drive through the park and see some displays of Christmas lights, inflatables, and decorations.

Local businesses, including the Langley Advance, are helping out by acting as dropoff points for lights as well.

Just over the border in Surrey, Kore Irrigation and Lighting has set aside an area on their property for donated LED Christmas lights. Kore is located at 19140 28 Ave., and are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The Langley Advance offices are located at 6375 202 St. and are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

For those without lights to donate, an online campaign, Save Christmas at Williams Park can be found at FundAid.ca/savechristmas. Donations will go towards purchasing more lights.

Any donated lights should be newer-style LED lights, as the old incandescent lights can blow out fuses at Williams Park.

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