The first ever Irish Red Cross National Volunteer Awards were held today at Farmleigh House, Dublin, celebrating the work of the charity’s humanitarian volunteers.
The event marks the eve of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, held each year on the 8th May to celebrate the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent globally and locally.
The overall winner of the Irish Red Cross Volunteer of the Year award was Mary Prout from Nenagh, Tipperary. As well as working as a full-time Carer for the HSE, Mary has volunteered her evenings and weekends to keeping her community safe. Mary is known locally for training fellow Irish Red Cross volunteers and members of the public in first aid. Giving them the skills and knowledge to help in an emergency. In addition, Mary regularly provides first aid cover at local rallies, fun days and concerts.
Speaking at the ceremony which was presented by Panti Bliss and Maria Walsh, broadcaster and Rose of Tralee 2014, Chairman of the Irish Red Cross Pat Carey, said, “My spirits are lifted listening to the stories of our nominees and winners. It is a wonderful thing to have an event like this that recognises the value of volunteers, those here, in Ireland and worldwide”.
Among the other category winners was fourteen year old, Sonia McKinney who received the Young Volunteer of the Year Award for her fundraising initiative. Following the death of her Aunt, Sonia recorded a CD of songs called ‘Orla’s Guiding Light’, which she then sold to raise funds for the Young Carers Group her Aunt had set up in Donegal. Through her fundraising activities, Sonia is encouraging other young people to discuss their feelings and the importance of opening up about what makes you sad.
Volunteers from twelve counties were shortlisted for the nine award categories. With Cork, Kerry, Dublin, Donegal, Tipperary and Waterford taking home the winning trophies. All nominees were put forward for the awards by members of the communities in which they volunteer and by their peers. The Irish Red Cross has approximately 4,000 volunteers in Ireland who provide humanitarian services to vulnerable communities around the country.
The 8th May marks World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, the birthday of the Red Cross founder Henry Dunant and an annual celebration of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Each year, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies organise activities to highlight the unique role of the Movement in their respective countries.
Award Category Winners:
Marie McSweeny, from Waterfall in county Cork was awarded Health & Social Care officer of the Year for her volunteer work as a Skin Camouflage practitioner.
Charlie Harnett, from Tralee in county Kerry was awarded the Irish Red Cross Instructor of the Year Award. sHe has been an Irish Red Cross volunteer for more than 40 years and
Andrew Patton, from Killiney in Dublin, won Irish Red Cross Unit Member of the Year.
Arbour Hill Volunteer Group won the Special Status Award for inmates who volunteer within the Irish Red Cross Community Based Health and First Aid programme.
The Irish Red Cross Branch of the Year award was won by the Portlaw branch, Waterford.
Irish Red Cross Area of the Year award was received by Cork.
The Youth Achievement Award was won by, 18 year old, Megan O’Connor from Killarney, county Kerry.
Volunteer of the Year was won by Mary Prout from Nenagh, Tipperary.
Young Volunteer of the Year was won by Sonia McKinney from Donegal.
See the Irish Red Cross Flickr page for more photos