2018 City of Duncan Award Recipients

The City of Duncan presents awards each year to residents who demonstrate excellence in the fields of arts, sports and long-term service to the community. On November 5, 2018 at the Inaugural Meeting held at City Hall, this year’s awards were handed out:

2018 Perpetual Arts Trophy Recipient – Sheila and Jim Johnson

In 1983, Sheila and Jim Johnson started the Concenti Singers.  Both Sheila and Jim were teachers with the Cowichan Valley School District where they both taught music during the day and then continued to share their love of music, choral music, to the adults in the Concenti Singers in the evenings.  They performed together and collaborated on many concert programs together until Jim passed away in 2012, but Sheila has continued on with Concenti.

After retiring from teaching in the schools, Sheila formed the Cowichan Valley Youth Choir (CVYC) in 2002.  The choir has grown and evolved over the years.  Both Concenti and the CVYC have benefited greatly from Shiela’s talents as a pianist, conductor, teacher, composer, and arranger. Her kind, patient and always inspiring leadership brings out the best in every member of her choirs.

Sheila frequently leads her choirs to compete at our local Cowichan Music Festival, and they have won numerous local awards, with her youth choirs representing the Cowichan Valley at the BC Provincial Music Festival on many occasions.

We thank the Cowichan Valley Arts Council who worked closely with the City in selecting this year’s recipient. In honour of his award, Sheila was given a carved wooden box from artist Robert Andrew of Mayne Island.

2018 Perpetual Trophy for Excellence and Sportsmanship – Hazura Sangha

In his 20th trip to the 55+ BC Games, Duncan runner Hazura Sangha finally completed the sweep.  For the first time since he started competing, Hazura won gold in all five of his events – the 10km, 5km, 1500m, 800m and 400m – at the 2018 Games in Kimberley and Cranbrook, on September 11-15.  Not content just to win, the 86-year old also set a provincial record in the 85-89 400m, his time of two minutes and five seconds taking five seconds off the old standard.  He’s just three seconds off the world record of two minutes and two seconds.

Hazura ran all five of his races in the span of two and a half days.  Although he notes that the events were spread out nicely his conditioning also allowed him to participate in all the races.  “God is great” he said, “My stamina is good.  After I run a race, after two hours, I’m ready to run the next one.  Most people choose one or two races over two and a half days.”

Having attended two decades worth of 55+ Games, he knows what constitutes a good event, and he was pleased with the Games in Kimberley and Cranbrook.

Hazura recently completed the 2018 TC 10km of a 1:09:02 which is a Course Record Division as well, just completed the 2018 Cowichan Autumn Classic 5km, placing first in his division for both races.

Congratulations to Hazura on all his achievements in sports to-date and we wish him continued success.

2018 Scroll of Honour – Leanne Closson

The Family in which this young lady has grown up in is well known for giving back to the community and the passion lives on in her.

She is recognized by words like, diligent, perseverance, giving, compassionate, and courageous.  These are only a few of many adjectives that define her.  She is dynamic individual within this community.

Because of her skill and dedication to sports growing up, she was pressed into coaching the younger ones and was only too willing to help with her teammates.  She volunteers work with local organizations such as the Duncan Junior Baseball Association, and the Cowichan Valley Football Association and has been part of a dragon boat team.  She has coached and has organized or lent a helping hand in a number of charitable tournaments throughout the years, all of which have benefited the community immensely.

She has also been a committed member of the Duncan Volunteer Fire Department since 2005 and was sworn in as Captain in 2017.  She has sacrificed family events, endured many sleepless nights, and is never too far away during her weekends on call, to protect persons and property in the course of duties of fire member when the siren calls.

She is the Parks Foreman, managing the parks and playing fields for the City of Duncan for over 10 years, not including the few summers working as a summer student while attending university.

Thank you to Leanne for all your past and continued contributions to the community.

2018 Scroll of Honour – Judy Hill

Judy’s long list of accomplishments include her prolific fundraising as a long-time Director on the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation; developing and shaping the growth of downtown Duncan through tourism initiatives; her support of competitive sports; and her long time commitment to the City’s Totem Committee, where she has used her expertise in Pacific Northwest Coast native art to provide the City with guidance in managing the world’s largest collection of outdoor totem poles. Her volunteer work also includes: founding member of the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Area, Chamber of Commerce Board of Director, and founding member of the Cowichan Valley Tourism Association.

Judy believes in Duncan so firmly that she opened her business the same year that Eaton’s left and the downtown was a quiet place to be for some months.  She never flagged in her belief that this is, and will continue to be, the best small City in Canada.

Judy has acted as an honorary volunteer by supporting the Cowichan Valley Museum by ensuring that the museum benefits from her expertise. Judy even orchestrated the donation of a rare Simon Charlie carving called the “Bishop Pole” to the museum, which is a profound symbol of resilience and survival that helps to tell the story of the Residential School experience of Indigenous children.

Thank you to Judy for all your work and contributions to the City.


If you would like to nominate an individual for a 2019 award, please see our applications page.