One of Haliburton County’s favourite adopted sons is leaving the Highlands, but he promises to be back as his alter ego, Dame Beatrice.
Mike Jaycock is entering yet another stage of retirement as he and wife, Jane, are moving to Ingersoll.
Jaycock told The Highlander the decision was one of the toughest the couple has ever faced.
“We knew there’d be a time when we wanted to be closer to family and, given the real estate market, it appeared that now was the time we should make those plans,” he said.
They were looking to be outside the big cities, around Woodstock and Ingersoll, down the 403. They found a home in Ingersoll, population 9,000 which puts them nicely within reach of all family members. The Jaycocks have been permanent residents of the Highlands for almost 18 years.
Jaycock recalls that when they first arrived, they didn’t know anyone. However, after joining the Haliburton Curling Club they began to make friends.
He also began volunteering with CanoeFM. It started with a morning show a few days a week, morphing into five days a week.
“Through snow storms, rainy days and beautiful summer mornings, I did that for about 10 years.” Jaycock retired after coming down with Meniere’s Disease, an inner ear disorder that triggers severe bouts of vertigo. However, he was able to do the Friday Drive show and co-hosted with Lorraine McNeil on Monday mornings.
He describes his friendship with McNeil as the best thing that happened to him in radio.
“I still hear her laughter. Almost each time we were together I was able to trick her with some improbable comment and she would always say to me (off air) ‘you’re such a bum!’ and then we would both laugh uproariously. It was the best of times. Lorraine has been gone from us for three years now but her positive impact on my life, as for many others, continues.”
She was also integral in pushing Jaycock to fulfill his dream for a Christmas Pantomime that would become the Highlands Christmas Shindig, a major fundraiser for Fuel for Warmth.
“Little did we know that it would be a huge hit and that tickets to the show would become much sought after,” he said.
Prior to that, with Tammy Rae, there was the Highlands Radio Almanac. For 10 weeks in the summer, the troupe travelled to a different location each week, throughout the County, and broadcast live, with local talent and interview guests and even live radio commercials for sponsors of the program.
“It was two hours of great radio. I still believe that it was the best radio I’ve ever been a part of,” Jaycock said. All up, he spent almost 18 years on air.
“That’s a pretty good retirement project. It’s a great group of people and I have been so lucky to have been a part of their family”