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Township of Langley Volunteer Awards

Submissions are now closed for this year’s Volunteer Awards. Read about the award recipients here.

Volunteers contribute to the well-being of our community, and the Township is pleased to recognize outstanding volunteers and their contributions through the annual Volunteer Awards.

Nominations are now open and members of the public are encouraged to nominate volunteers that deserve to be in the spotlight. Examples may include volunteering for a local agency or school, coaching kids in sports, helping to protect the environment, or assisting those in need. Nominations must be received by Monday, February 28, 2022.

Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award

The Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award recognizes a volunteer who promotes an active living lifestyle that enhances residents’ quality of life through creative, cultural, physical, or social pursuits, promotes traditional and non-traditional recreation activities, and enhances Langley’s community spirit.

John and Muriel Arnason Award

The John and Muriel Arnason Award is presented to a volunteer couple or pair of individuals who advocate culture, learning, and literacy, foster partnerships and cooperative efforts, and create the potential for long-term benefits to the Langley community.

Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award

The Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award is awarded annually to a Langley student in grade 11 or 12, who is nominated by his or her school, to recognize athletic achievements, scholastic efforts, community involvement, and personal qualities.

If you know an outstanding youth who should be considered for nomination, contact the school’s principal.

Nomination deadline: Monday, February 28, 2022

A $750 monetary award will be presented to a recognized charity or society chosen by the winners of the Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award and the John and Muriel Arnason Award. The winner of the Pete Swensson Award will receive a $750 scholarship.

All nominees will be recognized at the Township of Langley’s annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Evening in April.

About the Awards

Eric Flowerdew The Flowerdew Award is named after former Parks and Recreation commissioner, school trustee, and municipal councillor Eric Flowerdew.

Eric Symonds Flowerdew, born in Norfolk, England, and youngest in a family of 15 children, came to Canada as a young man in 1912. He served in World War I and returned to Canada with his young bride, Miss Doremy Hall. They purchased property in Langley, developed a large poultry operation, and raised dairy cattle. The couple had four children: Joan, Gordon, Barney, and Norman.

Eric became active in politics running in federal and provincial elections. He was a school trustee, served as a Township Councillor from 1944 – 1964, and was a member of the Langley Hospital Board. He was instrumental in procuring the initial Parks and Recreation budget appropriation. He also hired Pete Swensson. Eric’s interest in welfare matters involved him in many municipal community projects.

Eric was president of the Western Poultry Federation, director of the BC Federation of Agriculture, and president and organizer of the Fraser Valley Senior Citizens’ Housing Society.

Eric’s commitment to volunteerism was unfailing. In 1974, the Flowerdew family honoured his name with the Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award.

Muriel Arnason The Arnason Award was created in memory of Muriel Arnason, the first woman to be elected to Township Council, and her husband, John, who volunteered together to make Langley a better place.

Muriel Dorothy Arnason (Nee McCallum) was born in Winnipeg. In 1947, she married John Herbert Arnason, whom she met at a roller rink after John was discharged from the army. The couple left Manitoba and came to British Columbia in 1964. They settled in White Rock, where John taught at Semiahmoo Secondary. The Arnasons were married for 58 years and raised four children.

A lifelong learner, Muriel had a passion for music, reading, and knowledge and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Teaching Certificate while in her 40s. The Arnasons moved to South Langley and, in 1979, Muriel became the first woman elected to Township of Langley Council.

Tenacious and determined, Muriel was a champion of the elderly, poor, handicapped, and disenfranchised. John encouraged Muriel in a time when few women served in politics.

He supported her initiatives to foster the arts, education, and literacy in the community.

Muriel retired in 2005 after 26 years of serving on Council. In 2006, she became the first woman to receive the prestigious Freedom of the Municipality honour because of her philanthropic contributions. In 2008, the Muriel Arnason Library was named in her honour, and Township Council created the John and Muriel Arnason Award to recognize people who volunteer together to promote culture, learning, and literacy in the Langley community.

Pete Swensson The Swensson Award is named after internationally recognized athlete and photographer Pete Swensson, the Township’s first Recreation Director and originator of the Langley Walk.

Born in Helsinborg, Sweden, Pelle (Pete) Swensson spent his early youth sailing on ships owned by his father. He excelled in a variety of sports and became the Swedish Broad Jump Champion, setting a national record that stood for more than 40 years.

Pete moved to Canada in 1930 and settled in Aldergrove, where he developed a poultry-breeding farm. He also enjoyed photography; many of his prints, which consistently reflected his intense humanitarian interest in the people around him, won awards.

His prowess in athletics eventually led to international recognition for discovering talent, coaching champion Langley athletes, and starting hundreds of young people in track and field and gymnastics. His successes included Canadian Men’s Broad Jump Champion Dave Stafford and Canadian Girl’s High Jump Champion and international record holder Debbie Brill.

Pete became the Township’s first recreation director and organized numerous programs for youth. He was the originator of the Langley Walk, which remains a community tradition enjoyed by hundreds of participants each May. Pete was committed to the overall development of youth, and the Outstanding Community Youth Award is named in his honour.

Past Award Recipients

2021    Sue Westhaver
Recognized for her volunteer contributions to the Langley Hospice Society and its Langley Hospice Foundation. Sue is a great champion of hospice care and has helped engage other volunteers, donors, and supporters for the new Langley Hospice Residence Project. 

2020    Barb Jackman
Recognized for spending over 10,000 hours volunteering at the Second Story Treasures Thrift Store, run by the Langley Hospice Society.

2019    Nigel Easton
Recognized for his 17 years as manager of the Langley Curling Centre and time spent on the Curl BC Board of Directors. Nigel helped bring several high-profile events to the Township of Langley, including the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships.

2018    Shirley McGonigal
Recognized for her work with the Langley Memorial Hospital Committee since 1993, the United Churches of Langley congregation, and her countless hours spent caring and visiting with seniors who are ill or housebound.  

2021    Not awarded.

2020    Not awarded.

2019    Carol Paulson and Dave Melnychuk
Founding directors of the Langley Sustainable Agriculture Foundation, the pair were recognized for their work helping to ensure farmers and food production thrive into the future.

2018    Jeff Morfitt and Kellie Reynolds
Recognized for their extraordinary efforts in planning and presenting the inaugural Ribfest at McLeod Athletic Park in 2018, as part of their work with the Rotary Club of Langley Sunrise.

2021-2022 Callum Neily
Recognized for his academic and athletic achievements at Walnut Grove Secondary School and his creation of “Tutoring with Callum,” a national non-profit organization that provides free tutoring to high school students from families financially disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020-2021    Anneke Cairnie
Recognized for her academic achievements, athletic talent as part of the Walnut Grove Secondary basketball team, and her creation of an inclusive basketball training event for students with intellectual disabilities.

2019-2020    Prabhasha Wickramarachchi
Recognized for her athletic excellence as part of the Walnut Grove Secondary Track and Field team, her extensive volunteer work with her school’s Humanitarian Club, and her achievement as one of Walnut Grove’s top graduating students with a grade point average of 97%.

2018-2019    Carson Sidhu
Recognized for his athletic and academic achievements at D.W. Poppy Secondary, including being named Athlete of the Year, Captain and MVP of the Seniors Boys Basketball Team, as well as the Top Student in Philosophy and Computer Technology and recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver medals.