Clíodhna Malone (16), from Milltown, was named the overall winner of the inaugural Kildare Garda Youth Awards at a Punchestown ceremony last Friday.
Some nine awardees, all of whom had been nominated by members of their communities, were honoured.
The inaugural Youth Awards were run in association with sponsors Newbridge Silverware. The event was attended by a host of dignitaries including MC for the evening Anne Doyle, 2FM’s Keith Walsh who is a proud Kildare man, Assistant Garda Commissioner Fintan Fanning, Garda Chief Superintendent Barry Mc Poilin and CEO of Newbridge Silverware, William Doyle.
Sixteen-year-old Clíodhna Malone has been volunteering her time and working with children with special needs since age 9. She also has volunteered for many charities travelling to Lourdes with the Carmelite Group and Kenya with Cara Projects. Clíodhna also coaches the Milltown Under 8 Girls’ Football Team and is a qualified referee for the GAA's “Go Games”. A venture scout and member of the Milltown Foróige Club, Clíodhna also plays football for her club and county.
The judging panel made the unanimous decision to select Clíodhna as the overall winner as she makes such a valued and exceptional contribution to her local community and county.
There were eight other award categories presented on the night, with The Active Junior Leaders from Curragh Post Primary School taking the Group Award and Mikey Hickey from Celbridge winning the Special Achievement Award.
Mikey has been working with The Bridge Garda Youth Diversion Project since May 2013 and, after struggling with school attendance and while remaining a huge help in caring for his siblings with special needs, he has thrived and will sit his Leaving Certificate in June.
The Active Junior Leaders are made up of twelve young people who trained as junior leaders and volunteered to work with over 80 children last summer during the school holidays, giving up their own holidays to undertake the project.
There were also two Garda Youth Awards presented for each division of Co Kildare.
The winners were announced as Stephen Farrell and Lauren Cleves from the Leixlip district, Mollie Sheridan-Coughlan and Ryan Scanlan from the Kildare district and Rachel Steele and Aoife Moran from the Naas district.
Each recipient has overcome personal challenges and contributes enormously to their local communities in many ways.
There were almost 100 entries for the first ever Kildare Garda Youth Awards in association with Newbridge Silverware, which is an outstanding result and shows the calibre of young people living in the county, according to the organisers.
The awards celebrate outstanding young people between the ages of 14 and 21 years.
Photos: Tony Keane