Banbridge man John McAreavey spoke of his pride at the growth of the Michaela Foundation at a special event held to celebrate five years of its work.
The Michaela Foundation was set up in memory of his late wife, Michaela McAreavey, who was murdered on their honeymoon in Mauritius.
The special event was held in Belfast City Hall on Wednesday February 17th, to celebrate 5 years of the Foundation’s positive work with young people throughout Ireland.
“I am thrilled to be celebrating the success of Michaela Foundation and our summer camps this evening. In five years we have grown from 1 camp in 2012 to 20 in 2016, something which I am really proud of,” John said.
“We continue to serve young people throughout Ireland by giving them vital tools in their development in areas such as faith, confidence and well-being.”
The event was well attended by over 120 guests including Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness, MLA Colum Eastwood, Michaela Foundation trustees, further political representatives, partner organisations, corporate sponsors, sporting supporters, treasured volunteers, valued fundraisers and participants. Guests were entertained on arrival by traditional musicians and beautiful folk singers.
Michaela Foundation took the opportunity to acknowledge the support provided by friends, family, donors, fundraisers, volunteers and other organisations over the past five years.
Speaking on behalf of Michaela Foundation, Mickey Harte said: “I am delighted to be celebrating the first five years of growth of Michaela Foundation. The feel good factor experienced by all those who have been part of the girls’ summer camps is palpable and life changing.
“I thank God for the support of so many good people who give so generously on an ongoing basis.”
The milestone event also gave Michaela Foundation the opportunity to celebrate the impact their work has made on thousands of young people throughout Ireland.
One of the most captivating moment of the night was when guests listened to 2015 Campette Bridgeen from Belfast speak of her experience of attending Camp.
“The Michaela foundation has changed my life. Before going to it, I cared what other people thought of me but now I realise that it really doesn’t matter,” she said.
“I have gained so much confidence and really want to live a ‘life without limits.’ It has taught me that it doesn’t matter where you come from in life, it just matters where you go.”