Robyn Gillespie, one half of the sister duo Robyn & Ryleigh, performs at the Giving Back Christmas to Paddington Station fundraiser at the Langley Events Centre.

Updated with video: Concert raises thousands of dollars for Paddington Station evacuees

Giving Back Christmas to Paddington Station concert collects more than $51,000 for those displaced by Dec. 11 Langley condo fire

More than $51,000 will be going to help evacuees of the Paddington Station apartment fire, thanks to the generous donors who attended the Giving Back Christmas to Paddington Station concert on Tuesday afternoon.

And that number could grow even higher, with donations still coming in.

For something that came together in less than a week, organizer Karen Lee Batten says the the event was more successful than she could ever imagine.

“I find that this whole experience has been super overwhelming, in a good way,” Batten told the Times.

“It’s pretty incredible. All of the volunteers that came out, everyone that gave their time. Every single moving part in this room is a volunteer’s set of hands, and that’s incredible. We have more silent auction items than we know what to do with. And every single penny will be going back to these families.

“So I just feel super blessed, super overwhelmed and just very humbled by how many people rallied behind the idea and how Langley really does care. And that’s the hashtag that we’re using, #LangleyCares. They really do, and this just goes to show you that.”

There were more than a dozen performers onstage including Batten, Chad Brownlee, Rollin Train Wreck (pictured below), The Vitality Dance Company, Robyn & Ryleigh, Mark Donnelly and more.

One musician, Emily Taylor Adams, lives in the second Paddington Station apartment building that did not burn down, and sang an emotional song she wrote just for the people of Paddington.

“They’re (the Paddington residents) in need right now, and they’re here, and they heard about it, and they’re coming out, and they’re getting the help, and people are breaking down, and they are crying and the volunteers are there to hug them,” Batten said.

“I don’t even know what to think. There really are no words.”

Donna Moore, a member of the Paddington strata council, says the outreach from the community has been overwhelmingly generous.

Just the other evening they opened up the doors at 5660 201A St. — the second building that did not burn — for refreshments and conversation between all residents.

“Instead of all the tears of the first day when we were sitting outside watching the fire burn — everybody was crying, they were in their pyjamas, they lost everything — all the people were crying, (but) nobody about the fire anymore. They were just crying because they were so grateful because people keep reaching out to them all the time. It’s just been amazing.

“And the Langley firefighters are second-to-none. They were amazing through all of this, really, really good. So, you know, it’s like a Christmas miracle. Everybody is just so thankful and so happy.”

Paddington Station has faced many challenges since it was built in 2009, from mail theft and break-ins, to people sleeping in doorways outside. But over the last two years, the strata council members have been working hard to make their condo building a true community.

Just this past summer they hired a new management company and an on-site caretaker, started the Paddington Socials Facebook Page, built a craft room for kids in the building to use and created a free library.

And now, that spirit of community is stronger than ever, said Donna Francis, strata council president.

“To me, this is Christ mass,” she said.

“People say, ‘Oh this is what Christmas is about.’ This is what it’s about, right. Because it takes away from the commercial aspect, and then it moves it back to the people aspect. It’s people loving people. And I think that, for us, the fire, it really didn’t stop the community — it built the community. From out of the ashes it really built the spirit.”

The strata council has started a new Facebook group “Paddington Fire Exchange” as a place where donors and evacuees can connect. Those wanting to help the residents are encouraged to join the group and post, so the residents seeking help can reply directly.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Fire shuts down 232 Street in Langley

Traffic being re-routed following Langley structure fire

VIDEO: Student puppeteers bring dark comedy to life

Theatre in the Grove presents ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ April 5-7, 12-14

For safety of staff, Langley City library will not carry naloxone

City Library had 10 incidents last year involving emergency services, but no overdoses

Hard work pays off in Titans’ Cup victory

Captain Tyler Sousa scores three goals in 1:53 to power Titans to victory in atom Langley Cup final

Fraser Highway B-Line to start in 2019

New bus from Langley Centre to Surrey Central expected to be 20 per cent faster than current service

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

BREAKING: B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

B.C. officials failed to tell Kiwis Fraser Health CEO had been fired in 2014

New Zealand spending scandal exposes Dr. Nigel Murray 2014 exit from B.C. job

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Installation complete for Alex Fraser Bridge cable collars

The collars will continue to be operated manually

Most Read