Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Volunteerism and neighbourliness recognised in Kilcullen

Albert Keenan, President of Kilcullen GAA, with members of the Club and Lord Mayor of Kilcullen Michael Lambe, who presented the Club with a Community Award for sporting achievements, on behalf of Kilcullen Community Action.
Good neighbours, sporting achievements, work with orphans in Kenya, and support for enterprise were among the things celebrated in Kilcullen at the recent annual Tidy Towns & Community Awards, writes Brian Byrne. Estates and businesses were also given Awards for their efforts towards improving Kilcullen in terms of the annual National Tidy Towns competition.

In all, some 20 Awards were presented in a packed Kilcullen Town Hall by Kilcullen Community Action, the umbrella group for Tidy Towns and other community initiatives in the town.

KCA Chairman Ray Kelly thanked the recipients of the Awards for the work they do without seeking anything more than the satisfaction they get from volunteering. "They do their bit day in, day out, without looking for any praise," he said. "Without their volunteering, and that in the many other organisations in the town, Kilcullen would be a poorer place. It think it's proper that we recognise that work whenever we can."

The Tidy Towns Awards were selected by a team from KCA who toured the various estates in Kilcullen to see what work had been done during the year. The Community Awards were selected from nominations which had been invited from the general community in Kilcullen.

Ailbhe Kavanagh, Sarah Hayes, and Una Halloran receiving an Award from Margaret O'Shea of Kilcullen Community Action, on behalf of Burkes Pharmacy, for Best Business Display.
The Tidy Towns Awards presented were Best Green Area – Moanbane Park; Best Large Estate — Castlemartin; Best Small Estate – Lui Na Greine; Most Improved Estate – Bishop Rogan Park; Best Business Premises – Nolan’s Butchers; Most Improved Business — The Spout; Best Window Display — Shabby Chic; Best Business Contribution to Tidy Towns — Brian Fallon; and Best Business Display — Burkes Chemist.

Community Awards were presented to Joe Orford (Boxing Club); Liam Sherry (Pitch and Putt); Jo McMahon (BofI Enterprise Town Committee); Gerry O'Donoghue (Maintain Hope); Kilcullen GAA Club for exceptional success this year; Anne Flanagan/Board of management (Scoil Bhride NS); Lorna Brophy & Richie Kelly and friends (Dawn Walk for Pieta House - raising depression awareness in the community); Kilcullen Gospel Choir (Lifting Community Spirit); Pat Lambe (Good Neighbour) Esther Doyle (Good Neighbour); Michael Lambe (three decades as Lord Mayor); and Dinah Dillon (Pitch & Putt).

Joe Orford of Kilcullen Boxing Club receives a Community Award from Noel Clare of Kilcullen Community Action.
The citation to Joe Orford of Kilcullen Boxing Club noted his dedication to the Club since he took over a coaching role in the 1970s, after himself gaining many county titles as a teenager boxing member. Since then, many boys and young men have come through the Club and their lived have been benefited from the experience.

Liam Sherry, a founder member of St Bridget's Pitch & Putt Club, accepts a Community Award from Ray Kelly, Chairman of Kilcullen Community Action.
Liam Sherry's involvement in St Bridget's Pitch & Putt Club since it was formed in 1987 was acknowledged. He was described as having 'masterminded' the Club's rise to being one of the top courses in Ireland, and two years ago he was inducted into the Pitch & Putt Union of Ireland Hall of Fame. His participation in many other sporting activities down the years was also noted — these include football, hurling, boxing, badminton, squash and bowls.

Dinah Dillon, another founder and stalwart of St Bridget's Pitch & Putt Club, who has worked tirelessly for the Club and for the PPUI, was also presented with an Award.

Evelyn O'Sullivan of Kilcullen Community Action presents a Community Award to Jo McMahon, Manager Bank of Ireland Kilcullen, who accepted it on behalf of the local Kilcullen Enterprise Town Committee.
Bank of Ireland manager Jo McMahon accepted an Award on behalf of the local committee who worked to make the Business and Community Expo held in Kilcullen last April such a success. Kilcullen was the first town in Kildare to participate in the Bank's Enterprise Town initiative, and of more than 100 exhibitors at the Expo, some 71 were local businesses. The event provided a rare networking opportunity where residents, clubs, social organisations, and businesses of all size got meet each other.

The work of the Maintain Hope charity in Kenya was recognised by an Award which was accepted by the initiative's founder Gerry O'Donoghue on behalf of the volunteers and supporters of the organisation. Maintain Hope has supported and developed an orphanage outside Nairobi for more than a decade, and has also been instrumental in setting up schools in the country and supporting students to third level there.

The Principal of Scoil Bhride NS, Anne Flanagan, and Siobhan Tutty Bardon of the School's Board of Management, accepted an Award on behalf of the overall Scoil Bhride Community, which has 700 pupils and more than 50 staff, in a new state-of-the-art building. The citation said all at the School are working together to ensure that the children in their care receive the best start possible as they begin a lifelong journey of learning.

Lorna Brophy and Richie Kelly and their family and friends who organise the annual Dawn Walk in aid of Pieta House were honoured for raising funds for that organisation, which helps people with suicidal and self-harming tendencies. Accepting the honour, Lorna Brophy noted that the people of Kilcullen's support for the Walk had provided funds that would enable 20 people to go through the Pieta House free counselling programme, and since its inception the service had helped more than 2,000 people.

Frances Clare and members of the Kilcullen Gospel Choir accepting a Community Award from Mary Rea of Kilcullen Community Action.
Kilcullen Gospel Choir, which was described as having provided 'an uplifting breath of fresh air' to the community, was given an Award on the nomination of KCA itself. The 40-strong Choir's presence at many community events was noted, in particular as support for fundraising endeavours, such as the Carols by Candlelight Concert which will be held this 8 December in aid of Kilcullen meals on Wheels.

Kilcullen's GAA Club was given an Award for exceptional success in the last year in several levels of county competition, by youth, men and ladies teams. The Award was presented by club stalwart Michal Lambe, Kilcullen's 'Lord Mayor' for more than three decades, who was then himself presented with an individual Award.

Esther Doyle accepting a 'good neighbour' Community Award from Evelyn O'Sullivan of Kilcullen Community Action.
In the Good Neighbour segment, Awards were presented to Esther Doyle, 'an unsung hero' who has quietly helped many people in a community which she loves; and to Pat Lambe, who 'is always willing and able to be there for everyone', especially the people living in St Brigid's Grove.

Pat Lambe accepts a 'good neighbour' Community Award from Ray Kelly, Chairman of Kilcullen Community Action.
It was a night of honouring, acknowledgement and appreciation. But most of all, it was a night of celebration of community.

This article first appeared on the Kilcullen page of the Kildare Nationalist.