The heroes of Laois communities were celebrated when a big crowd packed the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel for the 5th Annual Community and Voluntary Awards.
More then 100 people and groups were nominated for awards at Laois Community Forum hosted event which also saw the Leinster Express present its Person of the Year award for 2013 to Anna May McHugh of the National Ploughing Association on Thursday, December 27 last.
There were 101 nominees in six categories recognised on that night - a record number since the awards began. All nominees were recognised as having made a significant difference within and beyond their local community, through giving time, co-operation, imagination and hard work to achieve rewards of successful clubs, events and fundraising within the community. Each nominee was presented with a certificate acknowledging their contribution to Laois.
The Forum’s Unsung hero prize went to Ger Lynch for his work on a countless number of projects over many years in Mountmellick. The Leinster Express
Ms. Honor Deevy, Community and Enterprise Laois County Council said awards night, which was attended by more than 300 people, celebrated ‘amazing voluntary work’.
“The judges never fail to be impressed and inspired by the ongoing commitment from so many people who achieve so much with so little. We sincerely thank all of the communities represented tonight as we celebrate their achievements,” she said.
Laois County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mary Sweeney said volunteers are essential.
‘We acknowledge people like you in communities all over our county and all that you have achieved in these difficult times, when the work of the volunteer is needed now more than ever,” she said.
Mr Paddy Buggy, Chairman of Laois Community Forum, congratulated all the nominees, who were he said “heroes in their own community, for the hard work and commitment they put into their local areas and people”.
Ms Anna Marie Delaney Director of Services, Laois County Council, praised all involved in the awards and paid tirbuted to the 18 members of the Laois Community Forum for their work on the awards and other events.
The awards are partnered by Laois County Council and the Leinster Express. The category sponsors are: BHP Insurances (Art, Culture & Heritage); Laois Nationalist (Community Services & Support), Laois Sports Partnership (Sport & Leisure); Laois Partnership Company (Children & Youth in Fun & Education).