Summer camp puts a smile on John’s face again

�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -20th July  2012'Mandatory Credit - Picture by Darren Kidd/
�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -20th July 2012'Mandatory Credit - Picture by Darren Kidd/

WIDOWER John McAreavey has made his first public appearance since the men accused of his wife’s murder in Mauritius walked free - at the summer camp set up in his beloved bride’s name.

Wearing a Michaela Foundation teeshirt, the GAA player from Lawrencetown looked relaxed and happy to put the harrowing past few months behind him as he led some of the girls at the camp in a PE lesson.

The first Michaela McAreavey summer camp for 11-13 year-old girls ran last week at Michaela’s home town of Ballygawley.

It was established with the aim of continuing the young teacher’s legacy and has fashion, fun and faith at the heart of its activities.

Girls who took part in the inaugural event spent a fun-filled week decorating cup-cakes, writing songs with Irish singer Juliet Turner, taking part in flower-arranging classes and learning about Mass and the Rosary.

Belfast milliner Grainne Maher, who was at the camp taking a fascinator-making class, said it was a “brilliant” experience.

“The camp has been really rewarding for everyone involved and has been a fitting tribute to Michaela,” she said. Grainne also said she had also enjoyed a “good chat” with Mickey Harte, Michaela’s dad and Tyrone GAA manager.

“He’s a great guy, an absolute gentleman,” she added. “Given what he has been through, I think the man is amazing.”

Paying tribute to the strength of of the McAreavey and Harte families, Grainne said, “Mickey and John were there with their heads held high and were so enthusiastic and upbeat in helping these young girls.

“They really are dedicated to giving these young lives in Tyrone the best possible start.”