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

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

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

There were 31 new COVID-19 cases in the Terrace local health area during the week of Feb. 21 to Feb. 27, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control)
Northwest B.C. remains a COVID-19 hot spot

There were 31 new cases reported in the Terrace local health area between Feb. 21 and Feb. 27

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president and Grand Chief Stweart Phillip speaking at a rally with chiefs from around B.C. outside of the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in 2019. The UBCIC said in an open letter to Terrace city council that it was “heartbroken” to hear about the situation. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs ‘heartbroken’ by McCallum-Miller resignation

Terrace’s first Indigenous councillor resigned Feb. 22, alleging systemic racism

Terrace RCMP found gloves containing suspected methamphetamine and purple fentanyl following a traffic stop on the afternoon of March 2, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace RCMP seize suspected methamphetamine, fentanyl following traffic stop

Police observed passenger of the vehicle trying to hide bags of white substance between their legs

General voting day for the Terrace trustee by-election is Saturday, March 6 at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Black Press file photo)
Terrace trustee by-election: Meet the candidates

General voting day is March 6 at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read