It’s honestly a little surprising that Kenny Podmore hadn’t won this award before this year.
Over the Canada Day long weekend in Sidney, Podmore — a former town councillor (six years), current town crier (14 years in the job), tireless man-about-town and a guy who can even marry you if you want to (he’s a marriage commissioner) — was presented with the Town of Sidney’s Community Builder Award. It was given to him by Mayor Steve Price, with whom he served on town council, prior to leaving local politics almost three years ago.
But that didn’t mean Podmore was leaving the public eye.
He stayed busy, working an a concierge at the Sidney Pier Hotel, acting as official Town Crier for Sidney and for Oak Bay and helping couples tie the knot. As well, he has worn his heart on his sleeve — organizing various fundraisers for victims of flooding and mudslides in Washington State and for the families affected by the train derailment in Lac Magantic, Quebec.
Even his simple act of organizing row upon row of small, white memorial crosses and poppies on the lawn of the Pier Hotel during Remembrance Day, is yet another one of his contributions to the community he grew to love after coming to Canada from the U.K.
“All of this is my way of paying it back and saying ‘thank you’,” Podmore says.
He said the award was a surprise —especially since it was presented by the mayor during Sidney’s Canada Day ceremony in Beacon Park on June 30, an event that Podmore himself had a big hand in helping organize.
In fact, Podmore was at the forefront of organizing every Canada 150 event in Sidney this year, working with the Town of Sidney’s Paula Kully and many volunteers and community groups to bring nearly a month of activities to life. He took ideas — some of them his own, many others the ideas of different people — and made them happen. He spearheaded big events to small ones — a 360-person sold out Dinner en Rouge, for example, as well as a mass singing of O Canada to help promote Sidney’s Canada Day events.
Still, Podmore won’t take all of the credit.
“If it wasn’t for the volunteers, it just wouldn’t happen.”
Of course, working so hard means he’s deserving of a bit of a rest. And that’s what Podmore says he’s going to do.
“I’m going to ease off a little. Certain things I’ll keep doing, but other people are stepping up, willing to take on other things.”
Podmore said he’s working with local businesses, societies and individuals on keeping events like the Dinner en Rouge, Van Isle Comic Con and more, going in Sidney.
“I’m sure they’ll keep happening,” he continued.
And of course, he will continue to wear the mantle of town crier.
“That’s what brought me to Canada in the first place,” Podmore laughed, referring to the World Town Crier competition hosted by Sidney in 1992.
He came from Stafford in England for the event and said he fell in love with the place, came to Sidney and hasn’t looked back.
“(Town Crying) took me places I’d never thought I’d ever go to. It’s in my blood.”