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It has been another outstanding year for voluntary endeavour in County Fermanagh as highlighted at the recent Margaret Wilson Awards organised by the Irvinestown Community Partnership. Special guest Lauri McCusker, Director of the Fermanagh Trust, was the key note speaker at the event.
The annual Awards ceremony celebrates the spirit of volunteering locally. The award is a living tribute to the late Margaret Wilson, the visionary behind the concept of the Irvinestown Community Partnership.
Out of the 15 nominees, committee member of social club ‘Trendsetters’ Irvinestown, which caters for people aged 55 plus, Mary Donnelly won the esteemed ‘Margaret Wilson Perpetual Trophy for Outstanding Voluntary Endeavour’. A member of the club described her as ‘like a swan, elegant on the surface but working frantically under the surface’ to ensure things that needed to be achieved were done.
Lauri congratulated the winner as well as the other nominees. While reflecting on Margaret’s passion for community and voluntary groups, he commended the value and contribution volunteering makes to such groups across Fermanagh.
This year’s event, held in Mahon’s Hotel was attended by Margaret’s daughters Sarah and Victoria and the Chairman of Fermanagh District Council Bert Johnston.
Lauri outlined during his speech the many challenges facing groups in terms of volunteering. “We have a huge job of work to do ensuring we keep the spirit of volunteering and community activism alive and well. It does not just happen and we have to ensure we engage, empower and excite our young people to volunteer. That will be a big challenge for us all going forward.”
The rest of Fermanagh has much to learn from the example set by the people of Irvinestown, added Lauri. “This is a wonderful story, of how a community unites to take ownership of and address issues of concern, we need to encourage and support people to get involved and be the changes they want to see in their communities. This is a special place, these are special people and it is an honour for me to be part of this wonderful evening.”