National award for volunteers Marie and Paddy

Ava Battles, CEO, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland (MSI), pictured with Marie and Paddy O’Donoghue, recipients of the National Volunteer of the Year Award.

Marie and Paddy O’Donoghue from Mountnagle, Mallow, were named as winners of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland’s National Volunteer of the Year Award at a ceremony in Sligo at the National Conference and AGM. The Volunteer award is decided after nominations are received from any of the 37 branches of MS Ireland. This year, after much consideration of the nominations, the committee agreed that Marie and Paddy were very worthy recipients.
Marie has served on the committee and has held officerShip positions on numerous occasions, diligently supporting the MS Community also assisting new committee members in their elected roles.
One could say that they are silent operators, because you will never hear them but you will see the work they do, quietly going about their business making sure everyone is OK and looked after.
They have over the years been the backbone of the branch’s main fundraiseR, the annual Galtee Walk, taking it forward from year to year, improving it in all its aspects. The volume of work they put in every year is immeasurable. A number of years ago they designed a purpose built catering facility so we could serve refreshments to all those who walked with the MS supporters on the day. It is fitted with a hitch, and they tow it with all the equipment to Galtee Mor, and then store the unit all year round at home. They supervise stewards for the Galtee Walk, meet with them before the event to fill them in on all the health and safety aspects of the day, ensuring that everyone is prepared and ready for the task ahead, regardless of the changeable Irish weather. They are on-site on Sunday morning at 7am, and when the day is done (usually at 7pm), they are the last to leave, picking up all the directional signs on the way home. Job done….till next year. Volunteering at its very best. Their commitment, dedication and diligence to the MS Society is truly appreciated by the Fermoy branch and all the MS community in the North and East Cork area. Just wonderful people, and it’s a joy to know them both and a pleasure to call them friends.