Joint 2018 Ballymore Eustace Life Credit Union People of the Year winners Pat and Mary O'Neill along with Henry Murphy. Picture: Christy Dennison
From award winners still in primary school to a local sportsman aged in his 70s, the annual awards to be hosted in Ballymore Eustace this weekend span generations and throw up a diverse range of community heroes.
A first for the LIFE Credit Union-sponsored awards are the inclusion of individual awards for father and son, John and Christy Browne.
John will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. As an athlete, he was competitive in athletics, GAA and handball, in which he won seven All-Ireland titles. A fitness instructor who tutored members of St Oliver Plunkett’s, the local soccer team and contributed to more recent GAA teams, his unique fitness techniques, along with his acerbic wit and good humour were cited in several submissions in support of John.
Furthermore, he raised funds for many charities by undertaking marathons, and the fitness gene clearly has passed on to son Christy.
Christy himself undertakes a fitness challenge every year, in aid of charities such as Pieta House, Barretstown, etc. A care worker with the HSE, his compassion and patience was lauded by the wife of one of his previous patients.
Christy was the main organiser of an information evening with Pieta House (aided by Adrienne Murphy and Henry Murphy). In recent years, Billy Loughlin and Christy each field a team for the John O’Neill Memorial Soccer Challenge proceeds go to Pieta House. Christy has played and contributed to BME GFC as a player and selector and is now training the ladies senior team.
The Des Kennedy Memorial Sport Award will be presented to Mark Barrett and Niall Murphy, members of Kildare’s U20 All-Ireland Champions 2018. Niall was out last weekend in the Leinster JFC final, whilst Mark was on the panel against Antrim in the All-Ireland qualifiers and will play in the U20 Championship this week.
The Percy Donnelly Good Neighbour Award will go to Sean Kelly of Hillcrest, who was nominated by neighbours in the estate. Described as being patient with children in the estate but well able to ‘admonish’ them if needed, Sean helps with the annual Halloween bonfire and work in the estate, along with being a regular member of Walkers with Altitude and BME Operation Transformation.
The three finalists in the Michael Ward Writers’ Award are Eimear McCann, Nick Deegan and Lauryn Sheridan. Their entries were selected from submissions from sixth class students at Scoil Mhuire, the winner to be announced at the awards, chosen by the Ward family.
Individual award nominees include Dave Butler, the electrician who provides a sound system for every fundraiser in the village and is a vital member of BME Dramatic Society production team. His contribution to BME Tidy Towns is huge, including having designed and built the Bug Hotel on the Riverwalk; is a member of Walkers with Altitude and BME Operation Transformation, along with being an avid water sportsman. Dave was one of three locals who climbed Kilimanjaro last year.
Also receiving an award are George and Bernadette Guing. Local actors and members of Ballymore Dramatic Society (BEDS) for 23 years, this couple between them, have had audiences in stitches — and the Guing house was often the hub of stitching and making costumes for the Junior Dramatic Society years ago. George and Bernie are renowned thespians and have each played lead roles in major productions, plus George has written plays for the local group.
Award winner Paddy Nolan is a typical parish worker, in the background for everything but never front of house — you’ll see him at church gate collections, or at the gates of BME GFC, and he was recently spotted bag packing in Dunnes Stores!
Founder and stalwart of Liffey Heights Association, he is a great supporter of Tidy Towns work but again, never noted or requiring acknowledgement!
Eimear Deegan and Jean McCllintock received a joint nomination for their promotion and encouragement of youth learning music. Through their work with the Ballymore Concert Band, they have taught and encouraged so many adults and children into the band and their junior section, The Prelude Ensemble, which in recent years has taken two major prizes at the South of Ireland Band Championships.
Jean also supplies the BME Band columns to the Bugle. Eimear is the band’s PRO, always updating their social media. Jean also conducts the juniors — but their skill and energy as tutors is notable. The band also supports many fundraisers, amongst them CARA Girls Orphanage in Kenya.
The awards will be hosted in the Resource Centre on June 29, commencing at 8pm. Sponsored by Life Credit Union, the event is organised by Ballymore Eustace CDA and the Ballymore Bugle, with all artwork and scrolls donated by Fiona Barrett of BME Hearts and Crafts.