Surprise tribute to ‘trojan’ worker

Portarlington Swimming Pool Association paid a ‘surprise’ special tribute to their longest serving member, Niall McElwaine, at their weekly bingo session last Tuesday.

Portarlington Swimming Pool Association paid a ‘surprise’ special tribute to their longest serving member, Niall McElwaine, at their weekly bingo session last Tuesday.

Niall was on the original committee 50 years ago who dreamed up the idea of an indoor swimming pool for Port. and has played an active role ever since. At 78, the Donegal native is currently secretary and still swims several times a week in the pool he helped to make a reality.

Niall admits he was taken aback by the surprise presentation made to him.

“It was a bit of a surprise. I just remarked a few meetings ago that I’d be 50 years, and Willie Murphy ran with it. It was a grand night,” he told the Leinster Express.

He was delighted to be presented with a piece of Waterford Crystal, and a hotel break for himself and his wife Betty.

Chairman of the association Willie Murphy was glad to recognise the contribution of his colleague.

“Niall has committed his whole life to the building of Port swimming pool. He is a trojan worker. He is there every Tuesday night at bingo, looking after the money end of things, with our treasurer Margaret Behan.

“He is very diligent and hard working, how he got the energy to keep at it. I’d like to congratulate him, and extend our thanks for the valuable time he has given without fault,” he said.

Fellow life member Leo Dempsey was also full of praise for his friend. He is not far behind Niall’s half a century of service, having joined the association in 1968.

“He is an outstanding man, the most wonderful person ever attached to any voluntary organisation,” said Leo.