The Dashwood Head Shave for Cancer is ready for its seventh year, and while he deflects credit, Harvey Twidale has led the event for most of it.
“I don’t want anyone to think it’s about me, it takes a lot of people,” he said recently of the this year’s April 29 event.
He just enjoys giving back to the community he and his wife chose to retire in, he said, he wants focus on the volunteers, including 40 firefighters, that keep the department and events running. The 64-year-old has been on the fire hall board since moving back to the area seven years ago, after 25 years in the Lower Mainland.
Though retired from 36 years with Sears he said it’s true, he feels busier now than during regimented work days.
He grew up on a farm north of Nanaimo and always worked in the garden.
After he met his wife April, of 38 years now, she grew flowers and he focused on vegetables filling their small city yard and leading to their retirement in Dashwood with space for their gardening appetites.
While they grow big — they currently have 300 geraniums — and he does things like carrots, onions, parsnips, leaks and beans, they only do it for themselves and friends and family.
“During my working life gardening was always a great way … an escape I guess,” he pondered, “once you are in the garden you can’t have work on your mind.”
Their animals also take up a lot of time, he mused. They walk their dog Turbo twice a day and their
parrot Cuervo can be very
demanding. “She prefers to be called ‘Sweetie’,” Twidale said.
The 37-year-old African grey “is too smart to be in a cage. Now that we have one I’d say people shouldn’t have them as pets.”
Meanwhile, Twidale pushes the focus back to the fundraiser. Also on the Little Qualicum Water Works District board, he has chaired the head shave since its second year and he’s been treasurer of the fire department for six years.
“When you’re dealing with a public service it’s important that the money is well managed,” praised chief Nick Acciavatti, who pointed to Twidale as an example of a non-firefighter who wants to help the department.
He said they are always looking for volunteers and they can find a way for anyone to contribute.
Twidale and Acciavatti and the rest of the department are again putting the call out to the community and neighbouring emergency services to join them in what is becoming one of the local Canadian Cancer Society’s major annual fundraisers.
The event has raised over $29,000, despite some poor weather luck, and Twidale hopes to beat last year’s 32 heads shaved.
People can donate at the hall, 230 Hobbs Road, by calling Twidale at 250-752-9882, or at the Canadian Cancer Society office at 250-752-3222 or 172 Second Avenue in Qualicum Beach. Also follow on their website at www.dashwoodvfd.com and on Facebook.