With historical sites and buildings ever so threatened by extinction, small preservation societies are popping up across Canada, with the hope that piece of history will remain for future generations to enjoy.
That’s certainly the case for the Sheringham Lighthouse in Shirley, whose current existence is largely thanks to the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society.
One of its central supporters is Otter Point resident Bill Parkes, a society board member and Telus retiree whose dedicated volunteer efforts raised $3,000 – all of which will go to restoring the lighthouse.
“It’s a heritage site. I think it’s worth working towards keeping it for a long time,” said Parkes, who’s served on the board for four years.
The contribution was made possible through the Telus’ Charitable Giving program, which supports Telus volunteers and contributors and the organizations they promote through time and donations.
“If you put in 200 volunteer hours, you can donate $200 to a charity of your choice, it’s a great little program,” Parkes said, adding that when he donated $1,500 to the lighthouse, Telus matched that donation.
He’s certainly no stranger to volunteer work.
While living on Bowen Island, Parkes was chair of two water boards, and later, chair of the advisory planning commission. After moving to the Sooke region, he did Speed Watch for 10 years, and was part of the Community Police Consultive Society for a number of years.
Parkes also lent a hand at the Sooke Crisis Centre for seven years.
“I like to contribute to the community where I live,” he said.
The Sheringham Lighthouse is in need of love. The glass at the top facing the water is shattered due to people using it for target practice, as well as several other repairs to the building’s structural integrity.
“It’s an ongoing effort,” Parkes noted, adding that the building is still functional, as it still has operational microphones underwater for monitoring whales.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society has been working since 2003 to save the land, lighthouse and public access to the light station. The site, now owned by the society, has recently been designated a Canadian Heritage Site and is open to the public for the first time in the lighthouse’s 105-year history.
“That’s something to be proud of,” Parkes said.