Michel or Mike, as we sometimes call him over here, came to Ballynahinch in November 1984 where he met his wife. Michel is French Canadian and sailed the seas with the Canadian Navy. He has been known to me for over 15 years when he became involved with the Ballynahinch, Drumaness and Spa Town Twinning with Lamorlaye in France. Our group, the Rowallane and Slieve Croob Community Twinning Group developed out of the early BDS community regeneration group. The committee of the Rowallane and Slieve Croob Community Twinning Group – RSCCTG includes professionals from the health, education, business, and public sectors, many of whom were members of the Lamorlaye Twinning Project. The RSCCTG was constituted in February 2018 and the main objectives of the RSCCTG are to:
• Organise healthy activities and events to include running, walking, rambling, horse riding, bowling, cycling, football, table tennis and badminton
• Bring young and old together from our two main traditions and other traditions to engage in leisure activities to include arts and crafts, dance, music, and gardening
• Share our local heritage, cultural diversity, history, and language with our Celtic partners
• Establish relationships with local groups and with our Celtic and international partners and develop price in our local area and promote tourism
Michel has been an invaluable member of the RSCCTG and participated actively in our Covid Response Initiative whereby 100 families received gift packs with disinfectant products and winter woollies during December 2020 and January 2021. Michel not only delivered many of the packs, but also contributed a number of hats, pairs of gloves and thermal vests to the project as well.
As a fluent French speaker he has been invaluable support to the group during inward visits by our friends from Lamorlaye, France and acts as a translator on our outward visits to Lamorlaye.
Michel is not only an active member of our group, but has contributed actively to the work of the Ballynahinch Lions Club, The Ballynahinch Scout Group, Magheradroll Parish Church and the Royal British Legion Association over his 36 years in County Down.