Trish Banighen wears many hats, including Chair of the Council of the United Church. (Keili Bartlett / the Northern View)

VIDEO and story: Heart of Our City — Join the club

Trish Banighen keeps a full schedule in Prince Rupert

“It’s going to be fun, and it’s going to be enjoyable and it’s raising money for a good cause. And it won’t be terribly long, so there you go,” Trish Banighen said ahead of a choir show fundraising money for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

It’s a description that could fit many of her charitable causes. A side effect of a conversation with Banighen is being simultaneously inspired by and invited to the next several events she’s participating in. Although she modestly shares credit for her efforts with various other members, Banighen is involved in an impressive amount of extracurricular activities.

“I try to keep busy,” she said with a laugh.

Banighen has been singing since before she can remember but recalls singing “Buttermilk Sky” at three years old. She was in a talent show in kindergarten, and since then estimates that she has sung in 10 choirs.

Currently, she is a member of not one, but two choirs. Banighen has also been the Chair of Council for the United Church for three years.

When asked how she decided to become the chair, Banighan laughed and said, “I got railroaded. Everybody was taking turns and finally, somebody said, ‘I think you’d be good at it’ and I don’t know how to say no very easily.”

Five days a week Banighen’s mornings are spent exercising with aquafit, the walking club or Tai Chi. When she’s sitting (almost) still, she sews and makes quilts for fundraisers such as the Friends of the Library auction and the upcoming church bazaar. She’s on a team for the SPCA quiz night, one of her favourite nights of the year. During dragon boat season, she spends a lot of time on the water. During election season, she works at the NDP constituency office.

Sundays are for church, “of course,” she said.

Banighen is known by most in Prince Rupert as their former Grade 6 or 7 teacher and school librarian. Although she retired in 2008 after 30 years of teaching, many of her past students still approach her in town.

“They still speak to me, so I guess I did something right,” she said with a laugh.

She may have stopped teaching formally, but Banighen has never stopped learning.

“There are so many other things I’d love to know more about,” she said.

In spite of her busy schedule, Banighen also has a number of things she wishes she had done — one of them being learning how to ride a Harley Davidson. She’d also like to volunteer more with the schools and daycares, where she used to give puppet shows for the kids.

A Texan originally — as proved by her “don’t mess with Texas” mug — Banighen moved to Canada because she had read about a school north of Selkirk, Manitoba, that “sounded like a frontier experience” with dog sledding, canoeing and snowshoeing. She got the job and made the jump across the border. That was in 1968. She met her husband there and eventually moved to ‘God’s country’ with the B.C. native. They split when their son was two years old.

Banighen first moved to Prince Rupert in 1981 — as is the case with many — for a job. With Tim, her then-four-year-old son, in tow, Banighen said she was too busy being a single mom to be very involved with the community. Once Tim went to college at 18, she had more time on her hands, which is not something you’ll catch her saying today.

While the Texan would like to have better access to affordable transportation to visit relatives, she’s unlikely to leave Prince Rupert aside from vacations. Prince Rupert “suits me,” she said.

“I’ve got all my roots here.”

Of the Oct. 15 foodgrains fundraising concert, Banighen said, “There have been so many rehearsals, we’re going to sing our little hearts out then go home and collapse.”



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Heart of our City

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Poppy donation boxes have been delivered to restaurants, cafes, stores and places of businesses in Prince Rupert by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 127 for the 2020 National Poppy Campaign. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
National poppy campaign restricted by COVID-19

Prince Rupert Royal Canadian legion expects less donations to offer vital assistance to local vets

Elena Tran 9, grade five student at Conrad Elementary School learns about Truth and Reconciliation on Oct. 21 with the story of Chanie Wenjack who died at the side of rail lines while fleeing a residential school in 1967. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Conrad Elementary students learn of ‘reconciliACTION’ during Secret Path Week

Secret Path Week from Oct. 17 to 22 commemorates the passing of Chani Wenjack and Gord Downie

More than $10,000 in donations and toys was presented to the Salvation Army by the Prince Rupert Harley riders on Oct. 20, from the 39th annual Toy Ride held on Sept 26. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Harley Riders rode to victory with $10,000 donation to Salvation Army

The 39th annual Prince Rupert Harley Riders gifted more than 280 toys from the annual Toy Ride

The Prince Rupert Port Authority Land Use Plan will guide the growth within lands and waters under its jurisdiction and facilitate Canada’s trade with the world for the next 20 years. (Photo: Supplied by Port of Prince Rupert)
Land Use Plan finalized by Port Authority

PRPA Land Use Plan plan guides the growth and trade for next 20 years within its lands and waters

Such sweetness with all this candy. Dylan Kennedy 7, with his mom Kerri Kennedy volunteer at the Halloween Fest Committee event to bag candy for students in SD 52 on Oct. 19. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
How sweet it is

Bags of candy were assembled by more than 25 Halloween Fest Volunteers for distribution to S.D. 52

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Most Read