Helped out by a volunteer, Jim McGregor unloads the sign at the Langley Christmas Bureau’s new location at 20709 Eastleigh Cres.

Christmas Bureau setting up for another season

Co-coordinators Jim McGregor and Leigh Castron are stepping away from their role this year as the bureau gets set for Nov. 1 opening

The Langley Christmas Bureau volunteers were as busy as Santa’s elves on Wednesday, setting up the charity’s new location at the former Langley Legion building, and getting it ready for opening day on Nov. 1.

Around 40 volunteers showed up to make sure trees were being decorated, stockings hung with care, tables set up, boxes unpacked and electrical and signage work getting done — all of it under the eye of co-coordinators, Jim McGregor and Leigh Castron (pictured at left).

“We put out the call for help and just like that, 40 people show up,” said McGregor.

The bureau’s new home, at 20702 Eastleigh Cres., is operated by the City of Langley. It was more recently home to the temporary Timms Community Centre while the new facility was being built.

As with the Christmas Bureau’s location, there are also changes at the helm of the tight-knit volunteer organization. Both Castron and McGregor are retiring from their positions.

“I took over from Joan Chesney 10 years ago, just when I had retired as fire chief in Langley City,” said McGregor. “I’ve always enjoyed it here and I’m not leaving, I’m just stepping back from this role. I am now a volunteer,” he said.

“It’s been a long time and it’s time to pass it along to someone who can keep the spirits up. I’m sure everyone will say all I did around here was drink coffee and tell jokes,” quipped McGregor.

Castron has spent 16 years volunteering at the bureau, eight of those as the co-coordinator.

“My husband retired and now it’s time to enjoy retirement and travel together,” she said.

Castron said the City is actively looking for someone to replace them. She admits it will be difficult to step back.

“I’ve made some amazing friendships here. We are all so close and we have fun together. It’s going to be hard to let go,” she said.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 1, parents living in Langley can register at the Langley Christmas Bureau in person. There will be no satellite bureau in Aldergrove this year.

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