The overall winner of the Person of the Month Awards for 2008/09 was Kay Quinn who was presented with her trophy and holiday at our Gala Awards Night at Wexford’s Talbot Hotel on 9th April.

OVERALL WINNER 2008/09 – Kay Quinn
Kay Quinn and her family suffered deep personal tragedy in recent years when she lost 2 sons to suicide within a 2-year period. Kay was determined that the devastation felt by her family should not be experienced by any other family and so set up ‘Touched by Suicide’.

Kay runs this organization almost single-handedly and is available to answer phonecalls 24 hours a day. Kay offers support and comfort to people who feel that there is no hope and feel that they can’t turn to anybody else. Unfortunately, there are many people who feel this way as Kay receives many calls, particularly at weekends and usually in the middle of the night. She receives no funding for this cause. Kay also runs a charity shop in Enniscorthy.

Kay’s determination to help others, her ability to do something positive after facing huge
adversity and untiring dedication make her a shining example to all around her and an inspiration to others.

Conor O’Dwyer
As a jockey, Conor O’Dwyer came up through the ranks in a career that began over two decades ago.

At Cheltenham in March 2008, he bowed out at the very top of his profession after finishing down the field in the World Hurdle with Hardy Eustace. This was to be the veteran pairs last outing together but the memory of their great wins together will last forever in the minds of the Irish racing public and include the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham 2004, the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown 2004, and the Red Mills Trial Hurdle in the same year, the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham 2005 and the Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in 2007.

Other winning partnerships with Conor include:
Imperial Call – 1996 Gold Cup at Leopardstown, 1996 Cheltenham Gold Cup
Native Upmanship – 12 wins from 1999 – 2005, most notably the 2003 Melling Chase Aintree Grand National.
Keepatem – 2004 Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown

Unquestionably, pride of place has to go to War of Attrition with many successes for the pair over the years, most famously the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March 2006 and later that same month, the Gold Cup at Punchestown.

Since his retirement, Conor has embarked on a new training career and with a number of high profile owners already represented in the yard and looks to have a bright career ahead of him in the training ranks. Regardless, no one will ever be able to take away from him his substantial achievements in the saddle.

Countess Ann Griffin-Bernstorff
08 – Countess Ann Griffin-BernThe Ros Tapestry Project is a massive community initiative in progress in New Ross. Conceived in 1998 and being developed by over a hundred dedicated volunteers. Fifteen striking embroidered panels – 6 x 4 foot each- when completed in 2010 will be displayed in New Ross as a cultural and historical accolade to its’ creators.

The Ros Tapestries depict events around the Anglo-Norman arrival to the South East of Ireland, specifically the founding of the town of New Ross, Co. Wexford by William Marshall and Isabel de Clare. The content for these tapestry panels was exhaustively researched and designed by Ann Griffin-Bernstorff. She tirelessly designed the 15 paintings which formed the basis of the this project and she accepted her award on behalf of the 100 embroiderers who skillfully stitch the tapestries at venues associated with the historical content of that panel.

After ten years in the making, this permanent exhibition of the acclaimed embroidered Ros Tapestries has recently been unveiled in New Ross and promises to be a great tourist attraction in the area.
Mary Connolly
Mary Connolly is the group leader of the New Ross Chernobyl Children’s Project.
Under the charity’s Long-Term Care Programme, children in need of rest, recuperation and medical checkups are hosted by Irish Families.
Mary has been involved in the charity for the last 13 years and has held the position of group leader of the New Ross branch for the past 5 years.

Every year, she heads up fundraising initiatives for the New Ross project which helps to bring a group of children from one particular region in Chernobyl to Ireland for one month. She is also involved in co-ordinating the host families and the programme of activities during the children’s visit. All work for anyone involved in the project is totally voluntary. She visited Chernobyl in 2005 to experience first-hand the fallout from the explosion and hoped to return with 3 others from the New Ross project this year.

This year, Mary has been co-ordinating the visit of 19 children and 2 translators.
The project aims to restore hope to the people of the Chernobyl and Mary’s contribution certainly plays some part in achieving that goal.

Jason Ryan
Jason Ryan was appointed Wexford’s football manager in November 2007.
He made a big impression in 2007 when he trained Clongeen to win a first ever Wexford SFC title and at 31, his appointment has seen him become the youngest inter-county manager in the country.

Eight months on in his job, and Jason led Wexford to win their first Leinster Senior Football final in 52 years. Unfortunately, the team bowed out to Tyrone in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.

Ryan has been a member of the Waterford senior football squad for several seasons.

Billy Walsh
Billy Walsh has been a great ambassador for his town and county for many years now, a fact that was never more evident than at last year’s Olympics.

The proud Wexford man, as Head Coach, led the Irish boxing team to a hugely successful tournament, with Kenny Egan and Paddy Barnes taking home one silver and two bronze medals from Beijing.

Billy has been excelling at sports since he was very young and now fully endorses and continues to promote all forms of sport as a healthy and disciplined activity for young people.

He won his first national boxing title aged just 14 and after continuing to rack up the national titles through the years, he later decided to focus completely on boxing with the aim of making the Irish Olympics team. He fulfilled that goal in 1988 at Seoul, where he was captain of the Irish boxing team.

Billy is now in his sixth year as Head Coach of Irish boxing’s High Performance Unit, where he is responsible for training the best amateur boxers in the country at the national stadium including world champion, Katie Taylor.

Darragh McDonald
Young Gorey resident Darragh McDonald (14) exceeded all expectations and won a silver medal in the 400m freestyle event at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.
Despite not expecting to qualify for the Paralympic Squad until the 2012 games, Darragh was delighted to gain a place this year and overwhelmed by taking home silver.
He also achieved a new personal best and broke the current Irish record.

With true determination and ambition to achieve the best possible result, double amputee Darragh has never let his disability hold him back and gave 100 per cent throughout. Those who nominated Darragh, saluted his sporting succes and his ability to inspire other young people to perservere against all the odds.

Wexford Opera House
In an unusual deviation from the title ‘Person of the Month’, Wexford Opera House was chosen as the September winner. Many people involved with the Opera House were nominated for Person of the Month during the year.

The late Jerome Hynes, who was appointed Managing Director in 1988 and later, Chief Executive, dedicated 17 years to Wexford Festival Opera. Without his vision to develop a new home for Wexford Festival Opera on the site of the old Theatre Royal, Wexford Opera House may not be in existence today.

The volounteers who tirelessly ensure the smooth running of the Operas each year were also mentioned on nomination forms. Also mentioned were the current management team for their part in launching the new iconic Opera House. And so it was decided that the building itself should be awarded this accolade. David McLoughlin, CEO, accepted the award on behalf of all the above parties.

Wexford Opera house is unique, in that it is a state-of-the-art auditorium with a seating capacity of 850 but yet acts like a ‘secret gem’ tucked away behind a reinstated streetfront.
The operational flexibility given by the orchestra pit lifts, and the stage and backstage facilities, together with the horsehoe-shaped balconies, arguably qualify Wexford Opera House as Ireland’s first fully-specified purpose-built opera house and no doubt will continue to attract many visitors to Wexford from around the world for many years to come.
Dillon
The total value of drugs seized at Rosslare Port last year was just over €19 million. These seizures were aided in no small part by top sniffer dog, Dillon. Dillon is a specially-trained sniffer dog and has proven to be invaluable to the Irish authorities in recent years.

In 2008, Dillon helped to halt 30 shipments of illegal drugs, worth €19,025,451. He has also been sent to many Irish prisons to lead a Government drive against drugs in the Irish prison system.
For these reasons and many more, Dillon was honoured with the ‘Person’ of the Month award for October. This is the first time that an animal was presented with the award but such was the feeling amongst the general public that Dillon was a deserving winner that he could not be ignored. Dillon was presented with a Newbridge silver collar, accepted on his behalf by dog handler Denis Lawlor and Customs Officer Ian Harpur.

Dillon lives in Rosslare with his owner and trainer, Denis Lawlor, whose care and attention for Dillon has to be acknowledged and has played no small part in developing the skills for which Dillon is reknowned.

John Carroll
Windmill Therapeutic Centre is located in Wexford Town and its goal is to prepare adults with learning and behavioural difficulties to take on board challenges of the modern world. It promotes confidence and awareness to focus on the whole person, to maximise full potential and to promote personal and practical skills.

John Carroll is Head of the Unit and dedicates his days to the 35 trainees from Wexford and surrounding areas who attend the unit every day. John believes that it’s important to focus on areas like literacy, communications, relationships, project work, current affairs, crafts, drama, swimming and physical education. However, he also links these activities with resources in the wider community, realizing that it is an essential part of human growth and development for trainees to be put in touch with their wider environment.

John has been described as the backbone of the centre and is renowned for his gentle, caring and sensitive attitude.

Mary Maguire
Mary was a founding member of the “Meals on Wheels” service in Wexford town which began in 1971. She is the only founding members still involved since its formation 38 years ago. It all began when the St. John Of God Sisters who were celebrating their centenary year, provided a barna building beside the Wexford Garda Station in Barrack Street, encouraging local business people to get together to equip a kitchen, in order to bring meals to people who needed them.
The “Meals on Wheels” programme has developed since then and is a service that delivers meals to individuals in their own home. They are delivered hot and ready to eat for the excellent price of 3euro – you can choose a starter, main course and dessert and the meals are delivered by a team of volunteers. The service transports meals in Wexford town 4 days of the week, and also provides meals to St. Bridget’s Day Care Centre for 5 days of the week and to the Alzheimer’s Society on Saturdays.

Mary has been recognised for her continuing involvement and dedicated work to this much needed service.

Kay Quinn
Kay Quinn and her family suffered deep personal tragedy in recent years when she lost 2 sons to suicide within a 2-year period. Kay was determined that the devastation felt by her family should not be experienced by any other family and so set up ‘Touched by Suicide’.
Kay runs this organization almost single-handedly and is available to answer phonecalls 24 hours a day. Kay offers support and comfort to people who feel that there is no hope and feel that they can’t turn to anybody else. Unfortunately, there are many people who feel this way as Kay receives many calls, particularly at weekends and usually in the middle of the night. She receives no funding for this cause.

Kay also runs a charity shop in Enniscorthy.
Kay’s determination to help others, her ability to do something positive after facing huge adversity and untiring dedication make her a shining example to all around her and an inspiration to others.
Wexford RNLI
Wexford RNLI is responsible for search and rescue in Wexford Harbour and along the river Slaney.

In January 2008, the crew moved into newly built Wexford RNLI Lifeboat Station, adjacent to Wexford Bridge. The new station cost 850,000 and houses a crew training room, changing and personal protective equipment room, boat storage area and a souvenir shop.

A number of fundraising activities raised over 100,000 towards construction of the Lifeboat Station

Its crew of 2 women and 10 men are on 24-hour call, and maintain a very fast response time. Over recent months, the crew have had to be very active and the public have nominated many individuals from the crew for the Person of the Month Award. It was decided to present the award to all at the RNLI who are all true heroes within our community.


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