B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Just one week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his city council candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Hesketh had beaten terminal cancer twice and had entered hospice to battle it for the third time when he decided to run. Passionate about the upcoming referendum for a Multi-Purpose Cultural Facility in downtown Vernon, he said that even if he didn’t win, he simply wanted his voice heard.

Related: Hesketh moves from hospice care to Vernon council race

Related: RDNO launches referendum campaign

Having deep roots in the community — Bill’s Place is named after his father — Hesketh played a pivotal role in the building of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. He said that he needed to run because he believed in this even more than he did 20 years ago.

The Morning Star had the opportunity to interview Hesketh and follow him on his trip from Hospice to City Hall.

Though he was in NOHS for Respice and not End of Life Care, he praised the facility.

“I feel like I’m at the perfect place because I feel like this is the core of what this community is all about — this hospice,” he said last week while showing the Morning Star his vision for the Multi-Purpose Facility. “I’m one of those who gets to walk out of here — at least the first time and even though I’ll probably end up back here, this is just a wonderful place.”

And “walk out of there” he did. Accompanied by local documentarian Jim Elderton, a good friend and both daughters, he went to City Hall and officially declared his candidacy for City Council. He then spent the night at home before returning to hospice the next day.

Watch as we followed Hesketh on his path to candidacy:

The referendum, being held alongside the October municipal election, gives voters a chance to have a say in borrowing up to $25 million of the estimated $40 million needed to build the cultural facility. Having designed a public building before — the Performing Arts Centre — Hesketh had another vision for the centre. He believed it would be best if located in Polson Park.

“The [Performing Arts] theatre itself, I’m quite proud of it. There’s not really much recognition but there’s so many people who contributed to it that there’s a story there but now that it’s been 20 years and we have these two major facilities coming off the books, for what they’re asking for is only $12 a year so I don’t know why it’s a question for some people,” he said.

“In terms of a job, I don’t think there’s a better one for me than running for council. I’m not asking for a wheelbarrow and shovel. I’m asking for a chair and a microphone. I just feel that my voice needs to be heard. Whether I get enough checks on my spot or not, I just want to be heard.”

From the public’s response to our article earlier this week, it’s safe to say his voice was heard.

Related: Lumby, Armstrong mayors in by acclamation

Related: Gunner going fast for Hospice

Related: North Okanagan paddleboarder takes on lake for hospice

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