It was a night to celebrate local people and the difference they can make to Laois and their communities at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel last Thursday.
More than 300 people filled the Hotel’s ballroom to for the Laois Community and Voluntary Awards and the presentation of the Leinster Express Laois Person of the Year Award.
Anna Marie McHugh accepted the Leinster Express award on behalf of Anna May McHugh, MD of the National Ploughing Association.
Pat Somers, Leinster Express Editor, said the award was presented for the record breaking National Ploughing Championships in Rathenisaka this year.
Ms McHugh told the Express afterwards that she was “overwhelmed” by the award of for a second time.
“I was thrilled of course to get the award of Laois Person of the Year. I would like to dedicate it to the landowners and community of Ratheniska and the team at the National Ploughing Association.
“It is lovely for me to be out in the fore front receiving awards but unless I have a good time at my back it would not be possible,” said the Ballylinan native.
Meanwhile, there was a standing ovation for Ger Lynch from Mountmellick who was the Laois Community Forum’s Person of the Year for 2013.
“It recognises a lot of the work by a voluntary group of people. Mountmellick is strong for voluntary work. We have over 90 voluntary organisations dealing with all facets of the community. You name it we have organisation for it.
“I never remember consciously volunteering for something. If there was something to be done I’d just do it,” he said.
He praised Laois County Council for backing community groups.
For more See Pages 41-46