The heroes of local communities across the County were celebrated by Laois County Council in association with Laois Public Participation Network on Tuesday, October 17.
Over 250 people gathered in The Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise for the 8th Annual Community and Voluntary Awards.
The Awards are hosted to recognise the tremendous contribution made by community and voluntary groups to life in County Laois.
All nominees were recognised as having made a significant difference within and beyond their local community, through giving of their time, co-operation, their imagination and their hard work to achieve rewards of successful clubs, events and fundraising within the community.
Each group and individual was congratulated on the night and presented with a certificate acknowledging their contribution to the community and voluntary effort in Laois.
The Master of Ceremonies on the night was RTE’s Justin Treacy, a native of County Laois.
The evening opened with a music ensemble by Music Generation Laois Grupa Cheoil followed by addresses by the Cathaoirleach, Laois County Council, Cllr Padraig Fleming the Minister for Justice & Equality, Deputy Charles Flanagan and the Chief Executive, Laois County Council, Mr. John Mulholland and Mr Brian Maher, Laois Public Participation Network Secretariat.
This year’s judges were Public Participation Network Coordinators from various counties.
They were thanked for their input having been impressed and inspired by the ongoing commitment from so many people who achieve so much with so little.
All the communities represented were sincerely thanked and were reminded that every community nominated is already a winner.
Of the 23 nominations for Unsung Hero, John Scully, a native of Vicarstown, was honoured on the night by Laois County Council as Unsung Hero 2017 and was presented with his award by Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Padraig Fleming.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Padraig Fleming was at the awards ceremony.
“We honour people like you in communities all over our county, and all that you have achieved. Without the work of our volunteers, life in our county wouldn’t exist to the same standard that it does.
"Your positive attitude and creative skills make good things happen, and while we all know that we need money to exist, it’s the enrichment of people and communities that is so much more important”.
Awards Runners up and Winners on the night were:
ENVIRONMENT CATEGORY - 6 NOMINEES
WINNER: Abbeyleix Tidy Towns
Runner Up: Durrow Development Forum
CHILDREN & YOUTH CATEGORY – 6 NOMINEES
WINNER: Spink Comhaltas
Runner Up: Mountrath Foróige Club
AGE FRIENDLY CATEGORY – 6 NOMINEES
WINNER: Portlaoise Active Retirement Group
Runner Up: Portlaoise Men’s Shed
ARTS, CULTURE & HERITAGE – 7 NOMINEES
WINNER: Durrow Development Forum
Runner Up: Yarn Bombing Mountmellick
HEALTHY & ACTIVE CATEGORY – 10 NOMINEES
WINNER: Woodenbridge Paddlers Canoe Club
Runner Up: Portlaoise AFC
SOCIAL INCLUSION CATEGORY – 10 NOMINEES
WINNER: Social Services Borris in Ossory
Runner Up: Portarlington Meals on Wheels
Cllr Padraig Fleming, congratulated all the nominees, who are, as he put it, heroes in their own community, for the hard work and commitment they put into their local areas and people.
Photos by Michael Scully.