Western staffers, student make Mayors’ honours list

The Western Libraries archives assistant Theresa Regnier and Western Community Legal Services staff member Margaret Capes, along with graduate student Jeff Preston, were named among the 2009 Mayor of London’s annual Honours List for their contributions to London’s heritage and housing.


Each year, many active members of the London community are nominated in specific categories as a means of recognizing the diversity of philanthropic work taking place in the city.


The nomination process is handled through the City of London’s Advisory Committees and specific community organizations. Once a winner in each category is determined, the recipients are honoured at the first city council meeting of the new year.


Regnier, who works in the J.J. Tallman Regional Collection at the University of Western Ontario, has been a staunch supporter of heritage and history for three decades.


She served two terms on the London Advisory Committee on Heritage (LACH) from 2000 to 2006, during which time she acted as the Education Committee responsible for plaquing designated properties and other heritage sites.


Regnier chaired Landmarks London, which distributed grants to heritage organizations, and is a member of the local branch of the Ontario Archives Association, the Ontario Architectural Conservancy and the London & Middlesex Historical Society.


She also played a key role in helping to launch Doors Open London in its early years – an event that has gone on to pay tribute to London’s heritage on an annual basis.


Similarly, Capes has been actively engaged in social welfare advocacy throughout her legal career spanning two decades.


In her current leadership role at Western’s Community Legal Services (CLS), Capes applies significant experience gained by earlier work as executive director at Community Legal Assistance in Sarnia. Now, she oversees more than 200 law students tasked with providing free legal advice and representation to disadvantaged Londoners.


Through her academic pursuits, research and volunteer efforts, Capes is focused on training others to be advocates on a wide range of social justice issues, including housing and tenant rights.


As a result of her efforts, Capes has improved living conditions and quality of life for countless students and other community members


With hopes of living a successful and barrier-free life, Preston has advocated throughout his life for the needs of those with disabilities.


Diagnosed with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy at only three months of age, Preston is required to use an electric wheelchair. Yet, he has turned his disability into an opportunity to promote accessibility, most recently driving his power chair from London to Ottawa to highlight the lack of funding for accessible public transportation.


Preston has also been extremely involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, acting as a provincial poster child for two years and as the first-ever National Campaign Assistant. Later, he became involved with Easter Seals, serving as Provincial Council Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors.


And, his latest achievement is the ‘Annual Jeff Preston Celebrity Golf Tournament’ which has raised over $900,000 for Muscular Dystrophy in 11 years. 


The Mayor of London’s annual Honours List began in 1976 to recognize contributions to the arts. Since 1989, categories, such as the Environment and Physically Challenged, were added to recognize the various contributions of community members across many sectors.


A complete listing of the honorees since 1976 is available on the City of London website.