Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ballymore person of the Year Nominees

Never was the competition tougher for People of The Year Awards – 5 nominations, 1 elimination. Take a look at the citations here –

Two nominations were received for Gerry Bell, for his work with the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association and a second for Breda and Gerry, as great parents and good neighbours. Last year, Gerry’s work with the Spina Bifida Association saw him nominated for the Co. Kildare Person of The Year Award. Three full tables of family and friends from came to support Gerry whom I would have to say gave the sweetest and briefest of speeches that night.
Gerry was joined by Breda, Julie-Anne, Gareth, Vicky, Linda, Maria and Patrick – the whole family out in force – plus his brother Des, godchild Rosie, friends Mary and John Hartigan, Vicky and Linda’s boyfriends and a clatter of Julie-Anne’s friends.

Gerry was asked in 1982 to run a marathon in aid of the Association for Spina Bifida and coincidentally, their daughter Julie Anne was born with the condition the following March. By November, Gerry himself set up the Kildare Branch of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Since then, he and Breda have worked tirelessly for the group, raising awareness on wheelchair accessibility (or lack of), social, sporting and shopping events plus holiday breaks for members. Breda and Gerry are very supportive support of all their children’s activities – from Community Games to Art, Sport to Drama and Music, anything their children have been involved in, they are there to support 100%. Neighbours too are high in praise of the Bells – always willing to give a hand or oblige. When collecting the Christmas tree over the years, the Bells’ house was a pleasure to visit – all the hand-made cribs were proudly displayed in the kitchen and you’d get a quiet warning from Breda that if you’re going to admire one, you’d better praise them all!
Every community event from Punchestown Festival Queen to a musical or play, the Bells support and seem to enjoy themselves no matter where they go.
Twas fitting that Mick McGinn of Naas Health & Fitness presented Gerry with his award at The Kildare Person of the Year, as they were former schoolmates


There won’t be too many of you that don’t know Mary. To fully list her involvement in Community affairs would probably take the contents of an entire Bugle.
Involved in the local Badminton Club at both Senior and Juvenile level, from its inception to competition levels in the Kildare and Leinster leagues.
Winner of the inaugural Christmas league in 1972 with Anthony. And successful again in the All Ireland representing Laois.
Always to be found on the sidelines in the heyday of Ballymore Soccer, cheering on Anthony and later picnicking with the kids when Mr. Campbell went refereeing.
Mary put in stalwart work during the building of the new ball Alley/ Community Centre acting as Secretary and running the project on a day to day basis for over 10 years. A member of the Eater parade committee during its golden years. Member of the Scoil Mhuire parents Committee. Assisting the late Mary Balfe in her many endeavours. Stalwart of the Cemetery Committee in St.Marys and solid grafter at keeping it tidy and a pleasant spot for all families who visit. Working on the Cemetery in Coughlanstown preparing for the Mass there. Her involvement in the church takes many forms, founder member of the parish Board of Management, assisting Kathleen Lawlor in the day to day running of operations, decorating the church for the harvest Thanksgiving, driving force in may fund raising activities. Whew. And Barrettstown, Fundraising events at local level on a number of occasions, concerts, fairs, and sales of work the list goes on.
Her nomination comes about not for this alone but also for the kindness she shows to all her neighbours and friends within the community. Her willingness to drive people for hospital appointments, for shopping and other expeditions makes her an invaluable friend to many.
I have seen Mary in action at various meetings; she is very quiet all during the discussions but always to the fore when the work is being dished out.
It would be remiss not to mention her husband Anthony, his long golden locks, still intact after thirty five years of marriage, he recently gave up the cigarettes, not for health reasons, but simple because in helping Mary he hasn’t time!
As you know daughter Laura is part of the team in Barrettstown and gives freely of her time to many of Mums enterprises. And lastly to mention Donal, who died some sixteen years ago aged nineteen after a tough and prolonged battle with his illness.

Eamonn Deegan has been nominated his tireless dedication to the Ballymore Eustace Handball Association. As a young fella, Eammonn served as an alter boy and joined the brass & reed band. Whilst he is not serving at Mass now, he is still a supporter of activities at the band hall and travelled with the band in its
marching days from the Annual Field Day at the GAA pitch to the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston.
His interest in music brought him local fame in the sixties as a member of the Sputnik Five and in later years, a member of F Troop. For the younger readers, the Sputnik Five were hot!
Since the sixties Eamonn has been involved in the promotion of handball both at club and county board level. He helped in the development of the 40 x 20 alley in the eighties, a very progressive development which incorporated the first glass alley in Ireland (Croke Park soon followed), a facility with children’s pool table and shop - in fact, for years, the Handball Centre was the prime community hall, prior to the refurbishment of the Resource Centre or the new band hall, the latter in which Eamonn once again was directly involved with fundraising etc.

Eamonn won All-Ireland junior hardball honours in 1969 in partnership with John Browne and has represented his club and county from the sixties to the present time. He was a keen sportsman - a good badminton player in the seventies and eighties, a competitive racquet ball player and in recent years, a dab hand at the pitch and putt and even better on the golf course, having won The Captain’s Prize last August at the golf society’s outing to Heath Golf Club. I’m told he even did a bit of Irish Step Dancing in his time……..
Its not surprising that Eamonn has been involved with so many activities in Ballymore Eustace – his late parents Maisie and Eddie reared a whole bunch of community-minded Deegans.
Like the other three nominees, Grania, Mary and Gerry, Eamonn never ‘hogs’ the limelight or pushes himself forward, simply gets on with it. Now retired from the ESB, I'm sure Eamonn will continue contributing to his local community in whatever way he can.

Grania Glancy nominated by members of St John’s Church for:
Her dedication to her Church
Her outstanding commitment to the sick and elderly in the community visiting them in their homes and nursing homes
Her generous time given to fundraising events.
A second nomination was received for her work with The Ballymore Eustace Dramatic Society, BEDS – a founder member, Grania assists in every aspect of the society from taking part on stage, working backstage, doing make-up, costumes, props and helping in every way she can. Husband Larry does invaluable work in the stage building and design. Grania is noted for her caring personality and everything she does, she carries a smile – especially in her work place where she is always sunny and pleasant. (And her baking is the best!). This nomination had 24 signatures.
To all this, remember Grania was a playgroup leader with the Community Playschool for years; before Hilary and I came on board, she was a Brownie Leader and in the past two years, she was one of founder members of the Ballymore Eustace Art Group which hosted a marvellous art exhibition last year. A lovely lady – and the best lookin’ Granny in Ballymore too.

A photograph in the chronicle of Ballymore 2000 shows a young smiling Rose O’Donoghue receiving the person of the Year award for 1999. Rose still smiling and young has been nominated again this year. However with all the good grace that she displays in everything she does she has asked that her name be withdrawn, as she is a judge of the awards. So it is with some reluctance that I agree to her request. Everyone knows Rose, her activities within the community and unending. She is cheerful and kind natured and a wonderful mother and role model to her children. I am proud to work with her and I regret her withdrawal from the process. Shortly after rose was selected as Ballymore person of the year she had an unfortunate accident, tail ending our favourite Laois man on the Naas Road. It gave rise to one of the quotes of the century as Pat Fitz described the accident as “ I was taken from the rear by the Woman of the Year!” Rose Barrett O’Donoghue, nominated for Ballymore Person of the Year, thanks Eric and Mary for the nomination but she declines in the essence of fairness.

The very best of luck to all our nominees – you are highly thought of in amongst the community. Please note, a nomination this year does not deter anyone from nominated again in future years.

@ The RESOURCE CENTRE, 8pm Saturday 10th February

No comments: