The late Mick Dowling, who was Heritage Officer of the Slieve Bloom Association.
A Substantial new community fund for Laois has been announced in memory of a volunteer who died in 2019.
The Mick Dowling Memorial Fund has been created by Laois PPN, a network organisation that represents over 400 Laois community and voluntary groups.
They will award €1,000 to a group in each of the three Municipal Districts in Laois, the Mountmellick Borris-in-Ossory district, the Portlaoise district which includes Abbeyleix, and the Portarlington Graiguecullen district, a total fund of €3,000.
Suzanne O'Connor is co-ordinator of Laois PPN.
"Mick was a very important part of loads of groups in Laois, we probably didn't realise how much he did until he was gone. he was a pure gentleman. He was a member of the PPN Secretariat, which is like our board or directors. This fund is in recognition of the work he did for Laois," she said.
The committee has opted to keep to just three substantial awards. It will come from the funding it receives from the government to support Laois volunteer groups.
"We wanted to share the grants evenly to the three Municipal Districts, but also not to cut it down too much, a group can do a huge amount with €1,000," she said.
Mick Dowling from Camross was chairman of the Laois Tour Guides, Heritage Officer in the Slieve Bloom Association, and a committee member of Laois Heritage Society. He was also on the Laois Leader board and a member of Laois Public Participation Network. A farmer and a bachelor, over the years Mr Dowling led thousands of walkers young and old through his beloved mountains, sharing his expert knowledge and love of the landscape and history. His death at the age of 84 took place on October 10 2019.
"We got approval from Mick's family to do this and we hope a family member will be on the judging panel," Ms O'Connor said.
An application form for the fund is on their website. Groups are asked to explain what they do and how they would use the grant money.
The only stipulation is that groups must have already been on Laois PPN's register by December 31, to avoid new groups registering just to apply for the fund. Pre-registered groups must register again for 2020.
Laois PPN includes Tidy Towns groups, Residents Associations, Sports Clubs, Community Councils, Youth Clubs, Environmental Groups and many types of social inclusion, community & voluntary groups. It acts as a link between them and Laois County Council.
The closing date for receipt of applications is Thursday April 30 @ 5pm. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 057-8665661.