Peter Hill (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge to honour volunteer, businessman and builder

Peter Hill passed away in April 2020

The City of Maple Ridge is going to honour a longtime volunteer early next month.

Peter Hill was a soccer enthusiast, and a bench with a memorial to the local businessman is going to be dedicated on April 9 at Karina LeBlanc field.

Hill passed away at the age of 79 on April 13, 2020, just as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were being felt in Canada. His celebration of life was a quiet event attended by 50 of the people closest to him. About another 200 watched online, said his son Darren.

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He was well known in Maple Ridge, and many got to know him through soccer. Originally from Leicestershire, England, he had a passion for the game, and was soon coaching and volunteering in the sport. He co-founded the River Road Soccer Club, with Don Tilley, which would eventually become the Golden Ears Soccer Club.

“He came to all of my games, even as an adult,” said Darren.

Since Peter passed, numerous people have told Darren how much his father meant to them as a mentor on the soccer pitch.

Peter was involved with the Chamber of Commerce for 30 years, on the Maple Ridge Fair Board for 16, and on city hall’s board of variance for 18 years. He served stints as the presidents of these organizations, but readily volunteered to do hands-on work.

“I would characterize Peter as one of those guys who did the hard work for the love of the community, and not for the credit,” said former Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin. “He understood there was more work than there was credit.”

“He could be crusty at times, but he had a great sense of humour, and he was a big teddy bear underneath,” added Daykin. “He loved this community.”

Daykin remembers Hill as an entrepreneur – he started Maple Ridge lighting with wife Hilda in 1986 – who always supported other local businesses. Hill was in business for 28 years, until retiring in 2013.

“He was very much a community guy,” said Daykin.

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He had deep roots in Maple Ridge, and seemingly everyone knew him. Darren remembered meetings with his father for lunch. They would try to keep it to just an hour, but it would always take two.

“There was always someone stopping to talk with him,” said Darren.

Peter Hill was in a cancer battle when he passed away due to complications.

Hill is the first resident to be recognized under the city’s expanded honour program, which commemorates citizens for their community service and accomplishments.

The city will honour him on April 9 at Merkley Park, with a dedication of a bench where people can sit and watch a soccer game. Darren said it’s a fitting memorial, and one his father would appreciate.

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