Chatham resident shares the story of why he moved back to the area from London, England. December 6, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Bryan McLellan's Facebook page)

Resident shares story of moving ‘baCK’ to Chatham for holiday campaign

The glitz and glamour of living in London, England and touring with the likes of Bryan Adams and Nickleback weren’t enough to compete with the hometown charm of Chatham for one man and his family.

The municipality is celebrating residents who left the community, only to move back, with its annual baCK to Chatham-Kent Home for the Holidays campaign.

Residents like Bryan McLellan are sharing stories of their journey home. McLellan originally moved to Waterloo to take Business Administration at Wilfred Laurier University. His love of music took him to London, England a year after graduation.

“I had always played music back home and I ended up enrolling in a music college there,” McLellan said. “From there my whole career shifted to music. I got into a band and we got a couple of record deals with Capitol Records and Sony Records. We released two albums and did a bunch of touring.”

The band, Vega4, lasted a decade according to McLellan. He became a session player, focusing on recording and touring after the band split up. McLellan also helped create the London Centre of Contemporary Music, which he said is one of Europe’s leading music education facilities now.

The musician, his wife and two sons moved back after he accepted a position as a strategic sourcing specialist at TransForm SSO in Chatham.

“It took us a couple of years to come to the decision, but my wife and I decided we wanted to bring our boys up back here in Chatham,” McLellan said. “Be closer to my family. We have lots of family and friends here.”

He said he knew it would be a bit slower of a pace compared to London and the only thing that has really surprised him was how willing everyone was to help with the move.

“A lot of friends and family really stepped up and helped us find accommodation and jobs,” McLellan said. “There is a lot to take into consideration when you move an entire family.”

McLellan said while it’s been a bit of an adjustment, he loves the fact he is only minutes away from his family.

“It’s been so difficult over the past 20 years to only see them once or twice a year,” McLellan said. “Now I can hop in the car and be at my parents in five minutes with the boys and bring them dinner. That kind of thing is never going to get old.”

The baCK to Chatham-Kent Home for the Holidays campaign is run through the Community Attraction and Promotion section with the municipality. Mayor Darrin Canniff launched the month-long celebration with a flag raising Thursday morning in front of the Civic Centre in Chatham.

The initiative was launched in 2013 and encourages anyone who has left the municipality to come back. McLellan had some advice for anyone thinking about making the move.

“I would just say ‘do it,'” McLellan said. “One thing I noticed over the past decade was how much Chatham has grown. There’s so much opportunity here. It’s there for the taking, you just have to get stuck in and meet some people”

The baCK celebrations will continue until December 31 with events planned across the municipality. For more information on baCK To Chatham-Kent, or for other stories like McLellan’s, check out the municipality’s website.