In the fall of 2008, VBDS members were saddened and shocked at the sudden passing of Keith Honeyman, who, as VBDS Treasurer and past Chair of Dance Pacifica, was a valued colleague on the VBDS Board.
His passing left an enormous hole in all of our lives, as well as in the running of our club. At the time, members expressed a desire for an appropriate tribute to Keith.
After an appeal for contributions, and a generous response from VBDS members, the Board approved an award in Keith’s honour, to go to a long-standing VBDS member who has, over many years, made outstanding volunteer contributions to the Society, and to the development of ballroom dancing in the Victoria area.
2022 recipient of the Keith Honeyman Memorial Award
Brian Mason was the recipient of the 2021/2022 Keith Honeyman Memorial Award.
Unfortunately Brian was unavailable to accept the award. Luckily his cousin, Elvis Mason was and stepped in on Brian’s behalf.
Brian first became a VBDS member in 2011 and started volunteering in various roles shortly after joining. He met his beautiful wife Pauline at VBDS. They were engaged in April of 2013 at Nanaimo’s Island Fantasy Ball, and married in October of the same year. Pauline sadly passed away in the spring of 2019, but she had wanted Brian to keep dancing, so Brian rejoined the club later in the year, and also got back to volunteering.
Brian has coordinated and volunteered as a lead, at our Intro to Ballroom events and other outreach activities. Brian joined the board of directors in 2019 and took over the publicity and marketing portfolio. Brian became our newsletter editor and publisher in 2020 just as the pandemic got up to speed. His thoughtful and creative content was a critical factor in keeping our community together and informed. During the same time, he also took over managing and maintaining our website. He is our DVD librarian and is one of the players of music at our practices. Brian embodies the generous spirit that makes VBDS a community.
To read about our past recipients, Click on the links below.
2009 - Rennie and Roman Yue
The first recipients of the annual Keith Honeyman Award were Rennie and Roman Yue, original members of the VBDS and perennial volunteers in a variety of roles to this day. Thank you, Rennie and Roman, from all your fellow members.
2010 - Ron and Joyce Hall
The second recipients of the annual Keith Honeyman Award were Ron and Joyce Hall, long-time members and consistent volunteers.
They have spent countless hours dealing with the music and library at our practices.
Many thanks for your abundance of help!
2011 - Alan Taylor
Alan Taylor was a founding member of the Victoria Ballroom Dance Society, and was instrumental in establishing the Society – crafting the first Constitution, working on incorporation, and serving as the Society’s first President. He continues to be a valuable source of advice and historical material.
Many thanks for your guidance and many years of service.
2012 - Ron Smailes
Ron Smailes is presented the award for his long time contribution to the Victoria Ballroom Dance Society. He is a natural dancer whose contagious enthusiasm and light-hearted fun has buoyed many a practice, class or workshop. His talents away from the dance floor are equally impressive and are evidenced in the Reg Wiz software for registration which he designed and build, as well as the engineering marvel of 2 chandeliers used at special VBDS events which he designed and built. Ron has served on the board and is an extraordinary volunteer who can be counted upon to dance at promotions, act as Master of Ceremonies, lead a line dance, and generally pitch-in whenever and wherever needed.
2013 James Ngai
2014 - Eric Jenkins
Eric’s many contributions include 3 terms as an elected president and one half-term when he quickly stepped in to fill an unexpected vacancy. It is this willingness to step forward and do whatever is necessary for the sake of the club that makes such a difference for a volunteer organization such as ours and why Eric is so deserving of the award.
2015 - Gary and Nancy Leitch
Gary and Nancy Leitch were jointly presented with the 2015 Keith Honeyman Memorial Award in recognition and appreciation of their many years of selfless volunteer service in support of the Victoria Ballroom Dance Society, and of ballroom dancing in our community.
Gary served as Treasurer of the VBDS for three years. He was Chair of the Dance Pacifica Committee for three years, where he did a superb job in this onerous position. He also took on being Chair of the VBDS Website Renewal Committee, updating both the “look” and the functionality of the website at a critical time in the history of our club. Prior to that he had served as Chair of Promotions & Marketing Committee for almost a year, relinquishing that position, because of the critical importance and substantial demands of reorganizing the Society’s books and financial reporting systems.
The spouse of every VBDS Director makes many sacrifices throughout the period when their partner is serving as Director on the VBDS Board. For that we must express appreciation to all those who, largely unrecognized, support the Society in this crucial way. But Nancy Leitch was much, much more than just a supportive partner for Gary in his years as a Director – she was actively working and serving in the background throughout, foremost as Bookkeeper for the Society in support of Gary’s role as Treasurer, working to institute a regular quarterly financial reporting system; then putting in countless hours in the background to ensure all the administrative tasks required to run a Competitive Ball got done, including serving as Volunteer Coordinator.
2016 - Neil Fleischmann
Neil Fleischmann was presented with the Keith Honeyman Memorial Award for this year at the VBDS Dance on Saturday night, April 22. The Citation for Neil read out at the presentation notes that Neil joined VBDS in 1996, and that since then, he has been not only an active member, but an active leader in the Society. He and his wife Carmen met at VBDS NC II classes, and have since become active Ballroom competitors as well activists in the club: Neil has been President more times than anyone else; he has served on the Board and on the Standards & Classes Committee longer than anyone else; he has been Membership Coordinator for the club more times than anyone else; and, if there is any task that has needed to be done in all that time, Neil has stepped in to pick it up, and Carmen has been there to support him. To quote Sue Wenman, a former President of VBDS who is Keith’s widow;
“Neil has worked tirelessly in all his many different roles over these many years to promote the club, its activities and ballroom dancing”. None of us could imagine anyone more qualified than he to receive this award.
2018-2019 Robert Adams
VBDS is pleased to recognize and honour Bob Adams, the 2018/19 recipient of the Keith Honeyman Memorial Award. Bob, and his wife Roberta, have been members of VBDS since 1999 and first started volunteering by helping with demos, promotions and marketing.
In 2004, Bob joined the VBDS Board of Directors and served for well over a decade in almost every position, including president in 2008 and 2009. He also served on the Nominations, Governance, and Standards and Classes Committee, which he chaired for many years, and was coordinator of the Community Outreach program.
Bob continues to play an important role supporting numerous VBDS activities and committees including the Community Outreach and Governance Committees, and willingly shares his knowledge and advice on all matters VBDS, when called upon by current Board members. He’s a leader, strategic thinker, mentor and team player. And, his skills as a Master of Ceremonies are second to none! Congratulations, Bob and thank you for your contribution to VBDS over the past 20 years!
2020-2021 Robin Evans
We could always count on Robin to take on a task or find a volunteer in the club who would get the job done. Robin is the ultimate volunteer recruiter – whether it was organizing a ballroom dance demonstration, finding hosts for a ballroom dance competition, greeting people or signing up greeters at VBDS practices, you could always count on Robin. For many new VBDS members, Robin would be one of the first people to introduce herself, and make sure they were welcomed.
Robin picked the cast, assistants and produced the ballroom dance demonstrations at senior’s residences after Angus McKnight retired. She convinced, encouraged and cajoled many unwary VBDS dancers to dance outside their comfort zones and become entertainers. She was script writer and worked with pretenders, the likes of Marilyn Munroe, Joe DiMaggio, the Beatles, Hot Lips Houlihan and many more. She ignited the memories of seniors and made them laugh until they cried.
Robin, this award is very well deserved. Your efforts are truly appreciated!
2023 Michael Kittel