Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan is a wife, mother, animal lover and now the first Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
From feeding her animals in the countryside of Aghadowey to her new Mayoral duties throughout the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough, Michelle is keen to prove that she can indeed do it all.
On the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Michelle commented, “There will be changes you will see and changes you might not see. Don’t fear it, embrace it. Look forward. This is new for everyone – residents, Councillors and staff.
“We have to embrace the change and make it work for us – every citizen counts. Look for the positive in things: sometimes this can take time, patience and allowances but be assured that objectives will continue to be achieved”.
Michelle is wife of 20 years to Gary and mother to Ben, 17 and Jessica-Jane, 12.
They live in the family home in the countryside of Aghadowey with their 4 dogs, 3 cats and ducks. As well as her new role as Mayor, Michelle is in her third year as Peoples Church Warden at Aghadowey Parish Church, Area Secretary of the Mothers Union and a long term member of Garvagh Clydesdale Vintage Vehicle club.
With a passion for animals and for motorsport, Michelle enjoys the balance of relaxation and therapy through her pets along with the speed and thrill from her love of motorsports. From a young age, Michelle has had an interest in motorsport originating from her father’s interest in the sport and in vehicles. She has never missed a North West 200 race, so this year’s event will be a special one for her attending as the new Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough, home of the NW200!. Michelle’s admires the riders who put their life on the line for the sport, not mentioning her favourite rider Guy Martin who will be competing. This year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 is set to be a momentous occasion for her as both an enthusiast of the sport and as Mayor.
As the new and first Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan feels honoured and privileged to take on this role, particularly at a time of significance in the history of local government. For Michelle, this role came a lot sooner in her political career than she expected but never one to fear the unknown, she is a strong believer that every day in life is a learning day therefore if a door opens she will go through it and rise to the challenge. As a female in politics, Michelle is particularly proud to represent women as leaders by taking on this role. She hopes that she will inspire other women to step forward into the world of local government and politics.
“We all make political decisions on a daily basis without recognising it, and there are many women out there heading up community organisations or local groups who do not get the recognition for their efforts within the community. I would like to encourage them to think about the next step and perhaps address the imbalance women in politics.”
In her first month as Mayor, Michelle has already found that she has had the opportunity to travel to places within the borough and meet people she would never have otherwise had the chance, including hosting visitors from France, Dublin and Kenya. Challenges so far as Mayor – it seems that there isn’t anything Michelle can’t handle as she confessed, “I love to be busy, I function better. To remain accessible, to cover the whole Borough and serve everyone is important to me”.
On her year ahead, Michelle commented, “I want to make a difference now. As a woman, as a working mother, as a wife and as Mayor to the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council I feel that I can do it all – work and family life. I want to serve every citizen in the Borough and be a part of this new era with them. People say some things can’t be improved, but I believe they can always be better.”
In her term as Mayor, Michelle looks forward to meeting the diverse range of citizens in the Borough and being a part of the bonding process of merging as one. One to always consider the impact things have on families first and foremost, Michelle is keen to support the citizens in the Borough in coming together in what she feels is a chance for greatness. Michelle praises the attraction that the new Borough has created in merging four good legacy areas into one great Borough, from the location’s natural beauty to the prestige events and attractions.
“This is like putting the final touches to a large patch work quilt, the four legacy councils have been creating the squares, incorporating all their best assets and attractions. Now we are stitching those squares all together to create a magnificent colourful, meaningful and functional quilt that will be handed down for generations to come. It is up to us to make sure the quality of the stitching will last the test of time”