The well-known and highly-respected founder of Richmond’s Sea Dragon Sea Scouts, Manfred Chan, passed away last Thursday, Nov. 22 at the age of 73.
Shortly after returning from a Sea Scouts International Wood Badge training event in Taiwan, Chan suffered a stroke.
Chan was born July 5, 1945 and grew up in British Hong Kong, where he discovered his lifelong passion for scouting, joining the Scouts program of Hong Kong in 1952, as part of Kowloon’s 3rd platoon Scout Group.
In following years, he achieved many scouting milestones that would set the course for future success across the globe.
In 1961, he obtained the Queen’s Scout Award, the highest youth award achievable in the scouting movement in the Commonwealth realms.
In 1970, Chan made a life-changing decision to leave Hong Kong, and join his brother, Clifton, and sister, Marian, in Canada, immigrating to Montreal, where he learned French and enrolled in architecture and drafting.
Despite the challenges of navigating a new culture, his passion for scouting never faded, and he founded a local Scout group in Montreal.
In 1984, he moved to Richmond to join his siblings, some of whom had emigrated from Hong Kong in 1972.
It was here that Chan founded the Greater Vancouver Sea Dragon Sea Scouts group (SDSS), which had expanded with troops in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam.
In 1998, Scouts Canada recognized Chan as the BC/Yukon Region District Scouting Wood Badge Trainer.
During the same year, Scouts Canada also recognized him as the BC/Yukon Region District Commissioner, the BC/Yukon Regional International Commissioner, and the BC/Yukon Region District Sea Scout Commissioner.
It was during his time in Scouts Canada where he obtained numerous scouting awards.
Of these it was the H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh Award that stood out from the rest.
Receiving this distinguished award once is quite an accomplishment, but Chan was awarded the honour twice; first for attaining “The Gold Standard” of the award and second for his “Interest in the Award Programme and for the Help You Have Given to the Youth of Canada.”
But scouting wasn’t just about awards for Chan, it is also about the journeys taken leading to these awards.
During his time in Scouts Canada, Chan and his Sea Scout team organized over 100 scout camps across south western B.C., teaching local youths maritime and survival skills.
Since the group’s inception, Chan and his Sea Dragon Sea Scouts endeavored to participate in as many local community events as possible, including the annual Steveston Salmon Festival and Canada Day parades in Richmond.
In July 2003, Manfred and the SDSS were responsible for running the Scouting sailing program which was one of the most popular and well-received programs in BC’s Provincial Jamboree.
As a person, according to his family, Chan was a perfectionist in everything he did and only settled for the best in work, production and performance.
As any of his Scouts will attest, he demanded perfection, but also balanced that with love and support.
To many family and friends, he was known as an amazing storyteller, a skill that was developed around countless campfires and permeated into his everyday life.
His family said it mattered not whether it was the first time you met him, Chan could transform any conversation on simple and mundane topics, into an exciting thing to learn, using his usual “animated and boisterous voice.”
Parallel to his community service, he also worked to literally build Richmond in 1985, where he and his brother, William, designed and built many homes in the city until his retirement at 65.
Chan is survived by his wife, Shirley, and their children Allan and Aaron, as well as his brothers and sisters, especially William, who has been his best friend since birth.
A celebration of life for Chan will be held Saturday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 8440 Williams Rd.
If you plan to attend, his family asks to refrain from wearing red for cultural reasons.