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

Langley woman’s graduation marks expansion of PTSD service dog program

Delta-based B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs Society and Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs merging to service to more veterans

For a 20th year, golfers memorialize Surrey business owner killed by cancer

Annual tourney pays tribute to Howie Blessin, who wasn’t an avid golfer but employed people who are

Langley City Terry Fox Run in need of volunteers

Route marshals, event set-up and take-down on list of jobs that need filling

Take-home naloxone may be replacing 911 calls in parts of Lower Mainland

Naloxone kits handed out up 29% over 2017, ambulance calls and emergency visits down 22-24%, deaths hold steady

Protect your home and family from fire, carbon monoxide, TOL fire department urges

Residents reminded to ensure alarms are properly installed and maintained

Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

UPDATED: B.C. matching Red Cross donations for victims of wildfires

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

VIDEO: ERT called to Port Moody home for distraught man with a gun

Officers negotiated with man for about four hours before he was arrested and taken to hospital

Woodpecker goes out with a bang, starts grassfire in B.C. city

Untimely death of woodpecker causes power outage in Cawston

Communities on evacuation alert in many areas of B.C. as wildfires flare

Warning was issued for 583-square-kilometre blaze that has charred Fraser Lake to Fort St. James

UPDATE: Kelowna’s crying judge refuses to pull herself from case

Judge Monica McParland won’t pull herself off of case.

Complaint coming about cattle prod use at B.C. rodeo

Fair reps investigate after Vancouver Humane Society pics show shocking device at bullriding event

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Most Read