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 March 15, 2024

French political leader Jacques Donnay dead at 99

Jacques Donnay, a former French Senator, passed away on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, at the age of 99.

Born on January 7, 1925, in Lille, Donnay dedicated his life to public service and community development, leaving behind a legacy of leadership and civic engagement.

His career

Donnay's political career was marked by his steadfast commitment to the betterment of the Northern region.

He was a longstanding member of the "Union for the North" group, advocating for policies that aimed to improve the lives of residents. Serving as a general councilor of the Lille-Centre canton from March 1982 to March 1998, Donnay was later elected as the president of the community, a position he held with distinction from March 1992 to March 1998.

Despite his significant contributions, Donnay chose not to seek reelection after completing his term, demonstrating his humility and dedication to democratic principles.

A major political presence

Beyond his local political endeavors, Donnay also represented the Northern region on broader stages. He served as a European deputy from 1994 to 1999, advocating for the interests of his constituents on the international stage.

Following his tenure as a European deputy, Donnay transitioned to the role of senator for the North, where he continued to champion the causes close to his heart until 2001.

Donnay's contributions extended beyond the realm of politics. During World War II, at the young age of 19, he volunteered with the Red Cross as a first aid worker.

His bravery and compassion were evident as he played a crucial role in the evacuation of 18,000 Dunkirk residents, ensuring their safety amid the chaos of war. This act of heroism exemplified Donnay's selflessness and dedication to serving others, leaving an indelible mark on the community.

His impact

Donnay's passion for sports, particularly tennis, was a defining aspect of his life. Achieving the title of league champion at just 17 years old, he went on to chair the Flanders tennis league, leaving a lasting impact on the local sports community.

In recognition of his contributions, his hometown of La Madeleine honored him by naming the town's new snowshoe center after him in 2018, a testament to his enduring legacy and the esteem in which he was held by his peers.

As the Northern Department mourns the loss of Jacques Donnay, it pays tribute to his remarkable life and contributions. His dedication to public service, unwavering commitment to community, and exemplary leadership will be remembered and cherished by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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