It’s not often we use this editorial space to pay tribute to an individual in the community. However, Mike Jaycock’s contribution to Haliburton County over the years is significant and it somehow seemed fitting.
While Mike and his wife, Jane, and dog Sophie, are not moving until March 24, word is out that the Highlands’ loss is Ingersoll’s gain.
CanoeFM spilled the beans in an email blast and The Highlander asked Jaycock to trip down memory lane with us for a story on his pending departure which is running on our people page a little further back in today’s edition.
Glancing through a lengthy email – since Jaycock is one of those few people who can do an email interview because he writes very well, honed from years of doing radio interviews – it’s hard to believe what he has packed in, in his 18 years as a permanent resident.
Difficult to fathom that when he first arrived, he and Jane didn’t know anybody. However, they soon learned that joining a club or organization – in their case the Haliburton Curling Club – was the ticket to friendship.
Meeting Dave Sovereign, one of Canoe’s founders, helped Jaycock transition into community radio. Jaycock helped Sovereign with the morning show, before taking it on himself for about 10 years. He went on to do the Friday Drive show.
Jaycock reflected on his great friendship with the late Lorraine McNeil, his radio partner who gave him the kick he needed to translate his dream for a Christmas pantomime into The Highlands Christmas Shindig. With alter ego, Dame Beatrice, and more people than we can name in this space, they have launched what continues to be one of the marquee events on the County calendar, and a huge fundraiser for Fuel for Warmth.
The good news is Dame Beatrice plans to come back in November for what’s hoped to be a live show.
Prior to that, he recalls going to Those Other Movies and seeing Prairie Home Companion and loving it. After the show he chatted with Tammy Rea and they talked about the power of that kind of production. Naturally Rea thought they should try it here. Many will remember the Highlands Radio Almanac.
For many, Jaycock has been the voice of not just community radio, but so many local events. He is synonymous with Canada Day in Minden. There was many a live broadcast at election times. We recall his voice at the Lions Club polar bear challenge; emcee of the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce awards gala; countless auctions including the hospital auxiliary and Tall Pine Tales.
And there were contributions to the Sculpture Forest and Performing Arts committees; Rotary; SIRCH; Yours Outdoors, Dysart et al and the Ontario Senior Games. And, we’re pretty sure he’s missed a few.
Outside of the radio station, his contributions continue. He was instrumental in the work of the Haliburton Creative Business Incubator. Some might have forgotten that he was the first business manager there. He taught at the college, too. He recalls some great young people coming through the eco-tourism program including Haliburton Forest’s Tegan Legge.
Jaycock was named Highlander of the Year in 2009.
While we may still listen to him on air from time to time and see him in November, when he and Jane move March 24, the Highlands will bid them farewell with a heavy heart.