THE everyday heroes who keep Mayfield’s many vital community services ticking were honoured at the biennial Mayfield Community Volunteer Awards last night.
The glittering gala evening, which took place at the Clayton Hotel Silversprings, paid tribute to the hard work of tireless volunteers, many of whom have dedicated decades of their lives to the betterment of their local area.
Welcoming guests, who included representatives from An Garda Síochána, the defence forces, world of politics and the clergy, Lord Mayor Cllr Des Cahill commended the organisers - Mayfield East and St Joseph’s Community Associations - for their work shining a light on the positive work taking place across the two parishes.
“Cork wouldn’t thrive without volunteerism and it is important to recognise that,” he said.
“It is important to take time out, pat each other on the back and say well done. I have been in Mayfield a lot over the year and it is a fantastic community and that’s down to the people here, the volunteers, and you should be very proud of where you are from.”
MC for the night was local man, and prominent sports commentator, Ger Canning, who introduced the award nominees who were drawn from local sports clubs, social groups and the arts.
Brenda Corcoran, who boasts 36 years of voluntary work with six different organisations including Mayfield CDP, Newbury House, Mayfield Citizens Advice, was one of six nominees to receive overall awards. Ms Corcoran, who has been living in the Mayfield area for over 40 years, encouraged others to consider voluntary work.
“I am very aware of the great number of volunteers in Mayfield and the great services that are provided and I would like to encourage other people to get involved because you get great satisfaction, you meet lots of people, and you’ll never have time to be bored.”
Two special achievement awards, dedicated to the memories of late Tom Walsh and Rosarie O’Leary, were presented to Ann Dowley Spillane of cancer support group the Girls Club Cork and dancer Alan Kendrick of Prodijig fame.
Derek Connolly, chairperson of St Joseph’s Community Centre said that the entire process of opening nominations to the public, right up to the exclusive awards night, is about recognising the good which may go unrewarded in the community.
“Even though there are six overall awards, for these 15 nominees it is so special to even be nominated,” he said.
“The most important part of these awards is recognising the nominees, the volunteers that are here this evening collecting an award on behalf of the group, club that they are involved in.”
Mayfield East Community Association chairperson Eddie Carey added that many of the nominees “tend to be very surprised when they hear that they have been nominated, some of them cannot believe it.”
The peak of the evening came with the official presentation of the 2017 Hall of Fame award to local soprano Majella Cullagh.
The international star, who first began to sing while a pupil in St Patrick’s School, Gardiner’s Hill, fondly recalled her formative years living on the Old Youghal Road and praised those who are actively working to protect the strong local community.
“I wish my mom and dad were here today because they would have loved this,” she said.
“An award from your home and your heart and your community is just huge. I was overwhelmed and proud and humble and grateful to receive this. It was a huge churning of emotions because this means a hell of a lot to me.”