A person would have thought that Elvis had risen from the dead if they were anywhere near the high school on Monday. The roar of more than 600 enthusiastic students, including youths from both Ladysmith Secondary School and the intermediate school, was reminiscent of a rock star’s visit.
The reason for the pandemonium was the arrival of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock. The riders, along with their accompanying support team, arrived at the school at 12:30 p.m. “right in the midst of the very first assembly the school has been able to have in over two years,” stated principal Dave Travers.
After the school’s various sports teams made their theatrical entrances, the sounds of sirens and motorcycles brought the students’ enthusiasm to a deafening roar and went even beyond when piper Darcy Cowan led the Tour de Rock team into the gym. The riders, along with their bikes, circled the gym and then parked so that they could be introduced to the gathered mass.
Travers introduced the jazz band which played a couple of tunes before the riders were introduced. A team spokesperson gave a history of this year’s ride, so far, and the reason the 21 riders were doing the tour. At the end of the session, Travers presented the riders with a cheque for $1,555 from the students at the school. Members of the Lions Club of Ladysmith then presented the Riders with a $2,000 donation.
Following the donations it turned into a loud barbershop as locals Denny Forrest and Duck Paterson stepped forward to have their heads shaved as part of the fundraising. Forrest, a businessman and supporter of youth sports and Paterson, a volunteer and longtime councillor, both had let their hair grow in anticipation of being buzzed to raise money for the tour.
The school’s past band teacher Rod Alsop performed the haircut on Forrest and German international student Liv Einemann cut Paterson’s hair.
The riders had to leave to keep their schedule and make a stop at Tim Hortons before they finished the ride for the day in Chemainus.
Later on Monday, the riders returned to Ladysmith to attend the annual Red Serge Dinner, put on by the local Cops for Cancer committee with assistance from the Eagles Aerie 2101 and the auxiliary. The dinner, attended by more than 80 people, also featured entertainment and an opportunity for guests to visit and chat with the riders. Members from the local RCMP detachment with members of the Ladysmith Fire Rescue department, in their dress uniforms, did the job of serving all the guests.
Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone spoke briefly to the group and congratulated the Tour de Rock team members for their hard work and dedication to children. Dave Giles, an RCMP member and part of this year’s escort team for the tour, held a ‘kangaroo court’ with the riders which was followed by some cheque presentations. The Eagles organization presented a cheque for $1,000 and the Eagles Auxiliary donated $1,200.
Dave Milne and some staff from the Ladysmith and Oyster Bay Tim Hortons attended and turned over a cheque for $10,500 from the sale of the company’s Smile cookies. Paterson presented a cheque to the Tour de Rock riders with the proceeds from his head shave, which had added up to $10,300.
“It really shows the heart of the community and what the town really cares about, the youth and well-being of others,” Paterson said, expressing thanks to those who supported his fundraising efforts.
At press time the final total raised by the Ladysmith community was not available but committee members estimated the amount would exceed $32,000.