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North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled
Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

It is a sign of the times when organizers cancel an event for the second time because of COVID-19 measures. Such is the case for the Victory Day Dinner and Dance fundraiser for the British Columbia Aviation Museum in North Saanich that was set for May 8.

Organizers had originally scheduled the event for May 9, 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, but the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone. Alas, the COVID-19 pandemic has persisted and organizers decided in late January to cancel again.

Speaking on behalf of the organizing committee, Kenny Podmore said the cancellation is disappointing.

“We had gathered together quite a number of veterans that were going to come in and be acknowledged,” he said.

Podmore said the event was going to offer a unique opportunity to honour veterans and several sponsors and donors had come forward to support the event. Organizers had also sold some 80 tickets.

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“Everybody has been refunded,” he said. “But we have had a lot of sponsorship and we have returned all of it. People are very good and said ‘hold on to it, there may be another time.’ We didn’t think it was fair to do that. Businesses are struggling, so we just wanted to give it back.”

Looking ahead, Podmore said nobody knows what next year is going to be like. “I can’t say to you we will do it next year. I was saying that last year.”

It is also not clear yet how the public will remember major anniversaries going forward. “We will always have Remembrance Day of course, but of course that was different last year.”

With the passage of time, the number of veterans becomes less, he said. “That is why it was so important to really do it when we were going to do it. It’s really sad.”

Ultimately, Podmore feels for the veterans, whose contributions will nonetheless never go unnoticed. They will have always have the public’s enduring gratitude, he said.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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