Giving back Christmas to Paddington Station

Country musician Karen Lee Batten hosts concert fundraiser for victims of Paddington Station fire on Dec. 20

Karen Lee Batten

As Karen Lee Batten watched the events of the Paddington Station fire unfold last Sunday, she felt compelled to do something big to help all of the victims who lost their homes.

The Langley country musician called her former manager and “partner in crime” Katt Stearns, who began calling her people, who began calling their people, and before they knew it, a full blown concert extravaganza had been organized — and all in less than a week.

The community is now invited to join Batten and Country 107.1 on Tuesday, Dec. 20 for “Giving Back Christmas to Padding Station” at the Langley Events Centre.

On from noon to 8 p.m., the event features a silent auction and performances from some of the biggest names in Vancouver’s country music scene: Chad Brownlee, Me & Mae, Danielle Marie, The Heels, The Vitality Dance Company, Robyn & Ryleigh, Emily Taylor Adams, Rollin Train Wreck, Jordan Aaron Pritchett, Cambree Lovesy, Mariah Simning, Patt Chessell, and of course, Batten herself.

There will even be a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

“I think it’s what makes anyone decide to start a fundraising from scratch — it’s your heart,” Batten said, when asked why she decided to take on an event of this size.

“This being a hometown horrific event that we all watched. It was so hard for me to just sit on the couch and wait for something to happen. And I know there are lots of things that people are doing around us, but I felt like everyone was feeling the same way, that there needed to be a big community event. And I’ve never done anything quite like this before.”

With help from Stearns, Melissa Johnston, Coastland Engineering, Geoff Dueck, friends, family and hundreds of other volunteers, the event came together rather seamlessly, Batten said, a true testament that it is “meant to be.”

“When I was sitting there, I thought maybe it’s the big guy up above … or maybe it’s somebody telling me that this is one I have to make the move on,” Batten said.

“But now, I am one of hundreds of people that have stepped forward — and that’s no lie — that have wanted to be involved. And I have absolutely taken them all up on it. This is a massive huge team of angels that have stepped forward on this, and thankfully, I have some pretty amazing people in my corner and around me and I don’t think I’ve heard ‘no’ once yet.

“It was literally just this six degrees of separation and finally landing on where it would work. It’s this big massive ball of communication with some huge massive hearted souls.”

Batten’s goal is to raise $56,500, representing the address of Paddington Station — 5650 201A Street.

At the event they will be accepting cash donations, as well as donations of new clothing, toys, food, etc.

Any used items will be donated to the Salvation Army.

“These are people that lived in homes just like you and I, that had new things and beautiful things and things they cherished, and they weren’t on the street before,” Batten said.

There have also been some major prizes donated for the silent auction, including a package from local country star Aaron Pritchett, and a $1,000 VIP experience at this year’s Gone Country — Here for the Cure fundraising concert in 2017.

“This is just a huge Christmas miracle,” Batten said.

“It really does feel like that.”

For anyone wanting to help, there are multiple ways to get involved.

Batten is looking for volunteers to help with set up and take down as well as donations for the silent auction.

Visit the Facebook event “Giving Back Christmas to Paddington Station” for more information.

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