The temporary memorial for Chloe and Aubrey Berry, Dec. 26 2018. (Submitted by Hazel Braithwaite)

B.C. community gathers to remember sisters on one-year anniversary of their deaths

Residents gathered to sing This Little Light of Mine in memory of Oak Bay sisters

  • Dec. 27, 2018 2:30 p.m.

Approximately 200 people gathered at Willows Beach on Boxing Day to reflect on sisters Chloe and Aubrey Berry, who were found dead in their father’s Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day in 2017.

Most were there to take part in a commemorative sing-along of This Little Light of Mine, which was led by Chloe’s music teacher from Christ Church Cathedral.

“Everybody in the crowd was holding lights of some sort, and there were lots of children there which was really lovely,” Oak Bay Coun. Hazel Braithwaite said.

“Sarah was actually there, the mom, and she went up at the end of the song and placed some lights at the tree, then other people just followed and started lights around the tree and it was really beautiful.”

Braithwaite was inspired to set up a memorial spot around a tree near the Willows Beach playground after seeing residents discussing ways to reflect on the tragedy in a local Facebook group. A friend of Sarah Cotton, Chloe and Aubrey’s mother, suggested singing This Little Light of Mine on Christmas, an idea Cotton loved.

READ MORE: Mom of slain Oak Bay sisters calls for positivity on anniversary of their deaths

At the time, Cotton said she “would much rather focus on the girls’ brightness and light rather than the negativity of it all this Christmas.” She hoped singing the song would add a little positivity to everyone’s Christmas.

“Everyone wanted to give to Sarah, and Sarah was very giving of herself and saying ‘hello’ to people and hugging, which I think really meant a lot to everyone as well. And probably really meant a lot to her to be able to see the people who had come out to honour the girls,” Braithwaite said.

“It’s really heartwarming I think that people will remember and take the time to come out and honour the lives of the girls in that way.”

The memorial at Willows Beach will remain in place until Dec. 30. Afterward, all the notes and mementos will be gathered up and given to Cotton.

Going forward, Braithwaite hopes this will always be a time where residents will want to join together.

ONE YEAR LATER: Memorial set up for sisters killed last Christmas

“I’m always struck by the strength of Sarah. She is a pretty amazing human being to have gone through something like what she has gone through, and yet to be so kind and generous to everyone around her who needs to have that moment with her,” Braithwaite said.

“For her to be able to be there and let people hug her and give them a kind word, and listen to what they have to say — that takes a pretty amazing kind of person.

“You often think if you put yourself in the same situation could you be as stoic and as kind and generous as she is? I’m not sure if I could.”



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Aubrey and Chloe Berry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peace ceremony in Nanaimo will be a little different in a pandemic

Hiroshima Day will be observed during the afternoon Aug. 6 at Maffeo Sutton Park

Column: ‘Old normal’ disheartening in time of opportunity

We Charity muddle the result of manipulation of money in achieving worthwhile goals, says columnist

Cooler day helps crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Nanaimo RCMP say increase in cycling opens up potential for more bike thefts

Police advise cyclists register their bikes with 529 Garage

City of Nanaimo to look at turning NDSS field into mid-size stadium

Parks and rec will begin stakeholder engagement and begin work on a phased plan for improvements

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Pandemic isn’t a time for tax increases

City councillors are out of touch with the taxpayers, says letter writer

New ICBC data details Nanaimo intersections with the most crashes

Old Island Highway at Bowen Road and Norwell Drive saw the most crashes in 2019

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read