From me to you, Orangeville

November 3, 2016   ·   0 Comments

For the past couple of weeks now you may have picked up a copy of the Orangeville Citizen and noticed a new name scrawled across its pages… That would be me, Mike Pickford, your new News Editor.

Since starting out here back in mid-October I’ve taken a lot of time trying to clue myself up on what’s going on in Orangeville and really try to get to know the community that it never really occurred to me that I didn’t afford you – our fantastic and loyal readers – the opportunity to get to know me, so here goes.

Born and raised in Manchester, England, I made the short trip across the pond back in 2007 to experience a new way of life. I had recently graduated from high school in the UK and was at a bit of a crossroads in my life. I wasn’t completely sure what career path I wanted to explore and the prospect of entering the working world full-time at the slender age of 16 wasn’t exactly the most appealing thing on the planet, so I did what most teenagers do when they’re posed with a potential problem – I ran away from it.

Upon my arrival in Canada I found a welcoming home with my grandparents and spent the next several years furthering my education, first at a small high school in Lindsay, Ont. before enrolling in J-School at Durham College in Oshawa. I loved every second of my Canadian education. You guys just have a certain way of doing things over here that really resonated with me, especially considering all my years spent in the strict, rigorous school system in the UK. Think Potions class with Professor Snape… It’s a lot closer to the truth than you’d think. Without the magic of course.

Anyway, since moving into the ever-evolving world of print media I’ve found myself in a number of excited and challenging positions. My first stop was in a small community in rural Alberta. I was roughly three and a half hours northeast of Edmonton, which of course meant I was roughly three and a half hours northeast of pretty much anything.

Despite my ongoing (and well-founded in my opinion) fears of running into the abominable snowman on a near daily basis, I truly learned to love my time out in Bonnyville. It presented me with the perfect platform in which to propel my career. What started as a one-year commitment in my mind quickly changed to two years and then three and likely would have extended even beyond that had the federal government not revoked my right to work in Canada.

That’s right, I should probably fill you in on that little tid bit of information… I’m still not a Canadian citizen. I’m not even a permanent resident yet. I’ve somehow spent the best part of a decade floating from study permit to study permit, work permit to work permit. All of that is about to change though. My lovely fiancé – whom I met in high school over here (in truth, she’s the real reason I stayed, but let’s keep that between you and me)- are getting married next year and as such I should, ten years later, finally be getting my ‘ok you can stay’ card. Relief!

Having been granted a shiny new work permit earlier this year I jumped back into the media industry working for a specialist trade magazine based in Peterborough, Ont. It largely dealt with automotive collision repair and aftermarket parts, which wasn’t, strictly speaking, my cup of tea but it certainly provided me with the opportunity to broaden my horizons and learn something new.

And then you happened, Orangeville. Don’t look at me all wide-eyed and surprised, you know what you did. As soon as the opportunity presented itself to jump right back into the world of community reporting, I had to take it. This is what I love. Speaking to a community and for a community. It’s a big responsibility, but one I fully intend to grasp with both hands. If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far it’s that the Citizen has an outstanding reputation within this town. I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me if I’m to continue the fine work of my predecessors.

My hope though, Orangeville is that you’ll soon learn to love me half as much as I love you. I know it’s weird and I know it’s cliché, but a day hasn’t gone by yet where I haven’t closed my eyes with a smile imprinted on my face and woken up with it still firmly in place. It hasn’t taken long at all for me to realize just how special this place is.

Here’s to this week and many, many more in the future.

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