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Mike Winney


I would like to share a story I covered in southern France that involved NCE's former editor Mike Winney, who sadly died last month.

In the spring of 1991, Mike heard that a church roof had collapsed in the south of France. His instinctive sense of civil engineering failures was alerted and we set off on a long and tiring drive to the disaster site.

We arrived at the small village on a cold clear morning, where the townspeople were trying to make sense of this devastating event. Several people attending church had been killed when the roof collapsed, brought on by a sudden cold snap, and there wasn't a person in the village who wasn't affected by the tragedy.

Mike's compassion towards these, to us, unknown victims was sincere. He exchanged letters with the local gendarme and sent the photographs I took, all of which contributed to the investigation and understanding of why the roof had collapsed.

Mike was so meticulous in his research, never assumed anything, and was always sensitive to the grief of the victims of tragedies.

Grant Smith, grant@grantsmith. com

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