“Either talk to me now, or talk to me on Christmas Eve,” Wayne Kuyer said with an ominous tone, but with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
From Dec. 12 to 16, the 59-year-old Langley accountant will visit local businesses, collecting donations for the Langley Christmas Bureau and Province Empty Stocking Fund.
“Each donor ultimately gets to dictate how they would like to get (their donation) allocated,” Kuyer said.
He makes his visits as Mr. Marley from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and this year marks a special anniversary.
He and his business partner, Stephen de Verteuil, began the drive as Scrooge & Marley in 1996.
Sadly, de Verteuil died from lung cancer in 2002, and since then, Kuyer has gone it alone, as Mr. Marley.
Continuing the fund without his friend and business partner, who played the Scrooge role, was “certainly challenging,” Kuyer said.
“It’s something that we both enjoyed doing. It was obviously difficult in the sense that he wasn’t there to participate in it and enjoy the banter that we used to love.”
Since its inception, the ‘Scrooge & Marley Christmas Fund has raised $228,600.76.
The goal this year is to collect $20,000 from businesses primarily in Langley City and Walnut Grove. If Kuyer achieves this, he’ll match a successful 2015 when he collected $20,735.
As for the ‘Christmas Eve,’ quip, in Dickens’ story, re-told in various mediums over the 173 years since A Christmas Carol was first published, Mr. Marley returns to Scrooge’s home as a ghost, foretelling three spirits that will visit on the evening of Dec. 24.
Any warnings of a haunting are made completely in jest. There is no pressure on businesses to open their wallets, and Kuyer gives them ample warning that he’ll be visiting over the five days in December.
Anyone who would like to contribute to the cause is welcome, Kuyer stressed.
The drive has grown substantially through the years. In its inaugural year, $2,488.26 was collected.
Since 2004, $10,000 or more has been donated to the fund each year, with the most successful year coming in 2013, when $22,375 was collected.
Anyone interested in donating can call 604-534-7212 for pick up or mail cheques payable to Kuyer & Associates. In Trust to: Kuyer & Associates CPA Ltd., 200-20689 Fraser Hwy., Langley BC, V3A 4G4.