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VIDEO: Langford resident treated to bagpipes on his 93rd birthday

Four generations of family celebrate birthday while staying physically distant

A Langford senior was recently treated to a special surprise for his birthday thanks to his family and help from the community.

David Kerr turned 93 at the beginning of April. His granddaughter, Taemar Verbaarschot, said the family usually gets together to celebrate big moments like birthdays but due to physical and social distancing regulations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, knew this year would be different.

In an effort the find some way to celebrate Kerr’s birthday, Verbaarschot said her mother suggested finding a bagpipe player who could play for Kerr while he stood on his balcony.

Verbaarschot, a Metchosin resident, took to a local Metchosin Facebook group to see if anyone knew a bagpipe player who could help her family out.

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“We’re so thankful to be part of such a tight-knit community,” Verbaarschot said. “There was such a great response and people pointing me in a direction to find [a bagpipe player].”

Eventually, someone commented on the social media post saying their father plays the bagpipes and would love to help out. On Kerr’s birthday, four generations of family – including Verbaarschot and her children – came together to enjoy the bagpipes and celebrate, all while remaining physically distant in the parking lot of Kerr’s building.

“He loved it,” Verbaarschot said. “He’s a tough old Scot and he knew right away what was going on and he came out and was waving at us.”

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There were smiles all around, Verbaarschot said, and others who lived in the building came out on their balconies to enjoy the festivities as well.

Although Kerr lives with his wife, Verbaarschot said she still thinks the pandemic is tough for him and for other elders in the community who are facing isolation. She said Kerr is used to being “out and about” all day, meeting with Verbaarschot’s father for coffee regularly and meeting with friends as well.

“Usually we have a big feast and celebrate these family moments together and obviously we couldn’t do that and had to keep him safe,” Verbaarschot said. “[Kerr] just can’t wait for things to get back to normal.”

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