NOMINATIONS are being sought for the Kilkenny People of the Year awards, a ceremony which acknowledges the trojan work of unsung heroes in our community.
The launch took place on Monday evening at the St Francis Abbey brewery where sponsors and committee members mingled with last year’s winner Ayeisha Grogan, a 31-year-old secondary school teacher from Lisdowney who has made a remarkable recovery after she
suffered serious head injuries following a car crash and was given the last rights. Last year’s Hall of Fame winner Jimmy Walsh from Cavan was also present at the launch.
Ayeisha, who was joined by members of her family said that she was greatly humbled on receiving the Courage Award after a ‘life changing year’ “It was a surprise and a great honour to be named Kilkenny Person of the Year. Support plays a huge role in recovery and the day after I received the award last year I had to go back to Beaumont for surgery. Not only did I have support from my friends and family but from the city and county,” she said before reading an inspirational passage from Muhammed Ali.
Chairperson of the organising committee Declan McCann said that the purpose of the awards is to give public recognition to the people in Kilkenny city and county for their contribution to society.
“We honour these very special people. We need these people who have such a positive attitiude of glass half full rather than glass half empty. We need them more than ever in these trying economic times. I believe that our nominees every year great example of selflessness, positivity and generosity. I would encourage everyone to look around and see if they know someone to nominate,” he added.
Mayor of Kilkenny Sean ohAargain described it as ‘a huge privilege to be called Kilkenny Person of the Year’ and added that he hugely enjoyed the ceremony which was always ‘great fun’. “It is about recognising the uplifting roles that people play in our community. It is hugely important as a community that you give this recognition. I want to pay tribute to Ayeisha whose story is inspirational and makes you put things in perspective. The people who are nominated for these awards lift our spirits and inspire us all. I want to congratulate our sponsors and the voluntary committee for their trojan work,” he said.
Chairperson of Kilkenny County Council, Marie Fitzpatrick said that she was very pleased to be associated with the awards. “The voluntary committee does great work as do all the people attached to the awards and I would like to compliment them and thank all the sponsors,” she said.
Pat McPhilips of Rehab, who benefits from the proceeds of the awards said that every year the standard and quality of people who are nominated is amazing. “There are an awful lot of people in Kilkenny doing great work for no reward. It is important to recognise the contribution that they make to our community. Rehab supports 90 people with disabilities in Kilkenny. The last few years have been tough with serious cuts in funding. At the moment there are 13 people living independently at Regent House. There was seven at the start of the year and hopefully there will be 16 by the end of the year. It is great to see people being supported and able to live independently in the centre of the city,” he added.
Closing date for nominations is September 28 and the awards ceremony takes place on October 26 at the Newpark Hotel.