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01 Jul 2022

Midlands food charity activist named as one of Ireland’s Inspirational Heroes

Former Portlaoise garda chosen for his work for people in need

ken smollen food appeal

Presentation fo award

A midlands campaigner, activist and public representative who has spearhead a food appeal to help people in Laois, Offaly and other counties has been named as one of Ireland’s Inspirational Heroes.

Following a nationwide search to uncover Ireland’s most inspirational people, Ken Smollen has been being named an Inspirational Hero in the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards.

Established to shine a light on those individuals who make Ireland a better place with their selfless acts and inspirational deeds, the organisers say Ken stood out for his dedication to help the lives of those less fortunate.

The former Portlaoise garda, Ken is the founder and a volunteer at the Ken Smollen Food Appeal.

"With over 1,030 families currently on the list to receive food and groceries, Ken goes out of his way daily to travel all over the Midland counties to make their lives that little bit easier," said Gala.

The Offaly county councillor is one of the inspirational people from across Ireland who were nominated for the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards, with 26 inspirational county heroes being named from the hundreds of entries received.

Commenting on the quality of the entries, Gary Desmond, CEO of Gala Retail said, “we’re a national brand with a local focus, which is why we’ve partnered with Virgin Media to delivering a national platform to shine a light on and reward the amazing people who are making a real difference to Irish society. 

He added, "mow in their third year the Inspiration Awards pay homage to people from all across Ireland who play their part creating a better country for us all. Operating in communities throughout Ireland, Gala Retailers have seen first-hand some of the great work that people have been doing and we are proud to have been able to recognise some of these inspirational individuals. We were overwhelmed by the level of nominations we received and Ken along with the fellow inspirational heroes are true examples of people who are making Ireland a better place for us all.”

2021 marks the third year of the Gala Retail Inspiration Awards created as a way of celebrating the selfless acts and inspirational deeds of people in Ireland who are making the country a better place.

Marian Mattimoe from Mayo was named as Overall Inspirational Person at the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards.

As a community retailer with 175 convenience stores nationwide, Gala store owners often hear of inspirational stories in their local communities, and this year’s Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards have elevated Ireland’s unsung heroes onto a national stage, giving these inspirational people the recognition they deserve.

Gala Retail has gifted €26,000 of prizes to the winners with the 26 county winners being awarded with €1000 hotel getaways across Ireland. For further information, see www.gala.ie.

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