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Building collapse claims life of Barrhead couple

Family members reported Tim and Sarah Vanderwekken aftern not hearing from them for a day.

Barrhead is mourning the news of the deaths of a couple killed in a tragic accident last week.

On March 10, emergency personnel found the bodies of Tim and Sarah Vanderwekken underneath the collapsed remnants of a storage structure in the County of Barrhead.

The couple married in 2021. Tim owned Reliance Automotive while Sarah worked at Barrhead Clinic.

Sarah, 59, was originally from Port Shepstone, South Africa, and came to Canada in 1998.

She is survived by her children, Christine Hove and Adrian Pillay, and bonus children Luke, Adam, and Nathan Vanderwekken; siblings Gonam Raju, Sonny Rajoo, Amsa Behari, Sharma, and Samson Rajah; and her sister-in-law, Constance Rajoo. She also has numerous nieces, nephews, and their children.

Tim, 58, is survived by Luke, Adam, and Nathan; his bonus children  Christine and Adrian; his siblings Ann, Claus, and Marilyn Vandermeer; Betty Deschiffart and Ken Vanderwekken; and numerous nieces, nephews, and their children.

A joint celebration of life will be held for the couple at the Barrhead Alliance Church on March 23 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, people are asked to make donations to Compassion Canada, the Kids with Cancer Society and the Barrhead Pregnancy Care Centre.

Barrhead Regional Fire Services (BRFS) chief Gary Hove said the fire department responded to reports of building collapse early in the afternoon on March 10.

"Family members had reported their loved ones missing for over a day, and there were signs that people had been working around the building roughly 12 by 25 feet in size that had collapsed, and we suspected that they might be underneath it," he said, adding the roof of the building was flat to the ground.

Hove said the fire department then started lifting the sections and managed to locate them.

Unfortunately, they were already deceased.

"It was a good effort. Our members worked, and the RCMP worked well together as a team to locate and remove them," he said.

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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