Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh welcomes 27 Golden Volunteers from Aldi Community Games to Athlone on Saturday 18th March
As part of Aldi Community Games’ Jubilee celebrations (1967 to 2017), each county was asked to select a nominee for the Golden Jubilee Volunteer Award, someone who has given outstanding service to Community Games since its foundation. The public were directed to the independent.ie website to cast their vote for the overall Golden Jubilee Volunteer Award.
90 year-old Lily Kavanagh received the Wicklow nomination after over 45 years of hands-on dedication. She was one of a small group of people who founded Community Games in Wicklow in 1972. With no money and much fundraising to be done, Lily and her friends staged the first Wicklow County Community Games athletic finals in Bray in the summer of 1973. She attends Community Games area finals every year and opens the county athletics finals in Shillelagh where she delivers her President’s address. She then judges the parade and stays for the rest of the day to present medals.
Lifelong Enniskerry resident Lily Kavanagh had planned to retire from her involvement with Community Games at the age of 60. That was over 30 years ago and on Saturday 18th March 2017 a still involved Lily was crowned Aldi Community Games Golden Jubilee Volunteer in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.
Mícheál Ó’Muircheartaigh commented in his address on Lily’s determination to walk up the ramp to take her place with all the other nominees, even though she had to use the aid of a walker. Lily was just one of 27 worthy and deserving nominees who all were rewarded for their service to Aldi Community Games on Saturday and her story is one that Aldi Community Games is all too familiar with – dedication, devotion, selflessness and never giving up!
“I have so many happy memories volunteering at Community Games over the years," she said. "When we first started many families were very poor and couldn't afford to get involved in the few facilities. It was a huge team effort to change this and I know it has made a big difference to so many people."
Each nominee received €100 euros worth of Aldi vouchers and a personalised gold medallion. Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Arlene Regan of the Irish Independent also presented a delighted Lily Kavanagh with a €1,500 Sunway travel voucher.
Volunteers are the foundation of Aldi Community Games. Gerard Davenport, President of Aldi Community Games, thanked all the nominees and said:
"It is the dedication and hard work of volunteers, which has brought Aldi Community Games to this 50-year milestone. The role of the volunteer is paramount to the success of the organisation. We are deeply indebted to those people who have kept the Games alive by giving their time generously.
With over 20,000 volunteers supporting us in the organisation of events each year, I acknowledge our volunteers as the foundation of Community Games and I extend an invitation to new members to come and join as Adult or Youth volunteers. I would also like to thank Aldi our title sponsors, the Irish Independent, Sunway Travel, the HSE and Kia Motors for their generous support over the last year."
Commenting on the event, Giles Hurley, Group Managing Director Aldi Ireland said:
"I would like to congratulate all the volunteers that have been honoured today and express a heartfelt thank you to the other 20,000 volunteers around the country. These volunteers give so much of themselves to Aldi Community Games and expect so little in return. It is their dedication and enthusiasm that makes Community Games possible, year after year.
It is a great honour for Aldi to support Community Games, particularly in its Golden Jubilee Year."
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