One thing is certain about the retirement of Sandi Burchill after 30 years with Black Press and its previous incarnations: many co-workers will be “right sad” to see her go.
Everyone’s favourite Maritimer heads off into the Langford sunset today (April 10), following a career in which she became indispensable for the community newspaper company that publishes the Gazette.
She winds up that span as Victoria News office manager and also doing ad control for a variety of publications out of the downtown Victoria office.
Well known around West Shore circles as the volunteer training co-ordinator for the Langford arm of emergency social services – husband Tom is the Langford ESS director – Sandi has served in many capacities with Black Press since she began in 1984. She started as part-time circulation manager for both the Peninsula News Review and Goldstream News Gazette, at which her first task being to clean and organize the storage room.
“I think there’s been a Burchill family member cleaning and sorting at the Gazette ever since,” she says with a laugh.
At one point during a previous stint downtown, she was named office manager for the fledgling This Week publications, the beginning of what became known as the News Group, the company’s collection of Greater Victoria community papers.
“It kind of feels like full circle as the papers move back into the individual communities today,” she says.
Coworker Kathryn Jodrell, who was mentored by Sandi and has worked next to her for years, called it “the end of an era.”
“I don’t think there’s many people in this company that are as gracious and loving as Sandi is. She’s poured a lot of love into the people she’s worked with over the years.”
Langford Fire Chief Bob Beckett appreciates her work as a community volunteer.
“All of the ESS in the Southern Island owe Sandi a big vote of thanks,” he says. “She puts a lot of effort into regional things that go on, such as the training and the conferences.”
Like her coworkers, who arranged to send her home in a limo today, he says it’s her friendly and loving manner and “down-east” personality that set her apart. “There’s some people you just care highly about and she’s definitely one of them,” he says.
Retirement will see her travel more and continue to volunteer. She’ll spend more time with family, including daughters Arlene (Glenn) and Traci (Chad) and grandkids Meagan, Emma, Hunter and Grace, aged from 12 to 22.