THE work of a group of Mallow students who won a prestigious award for their missing persons campaign has been praised by the mother of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann.
The students from Davis College were this week personally congratulated by President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin on the success of their Forget Me Not project, which won the 2012 Young Social Innovators Award.
The campaign has also prompted Justice Minister Alan Shatter to put in place a national Missing Persons Day, which it is hoped will be adopted across Europe next year. THE mother of missing toddler Madeleine McCann has praised the work of students from Mallow who last year won a prestigious national award for their 'Forget Me Not' missing persons project.
Kate McCann, whose daughter Madeline's disappearance in 2007 made headlines across the globe, praised students from Davis College whose work has prompted the Irish government to establish a national Missing Persons Day.
"The one thing that unsettles us the most is the thought that that very special person in your life could be forgotten," said Mrs McCann.
"It is a real comfort to know that there are kind and committed people out there who are trying so hard to ensure this doesn't happen. Thank You," she added.
The 23 students who took part in the project, teachers Kathy Kilgannon and Siobhan Murray and Davis College principal Denis Healy, were this week personally congratulated by President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin for their success in winning the 2012 Young Social Innovators Award.
Speaking to The Corkman from the Phoenix Park, Ms Kilgallon said it was a huge honour for the group to be invited to meet the President.
"It was a huge buzz for everybody. We met the President last year when we presented the project to him, so we are no strangers to the big occasion," she laughed.
"But being here today as the overall winners of the competition makes the occasion extra special."
The project, which has helped to highlight the plight of families who are left in limbo when a loved one disappears, has received recognition not only in Ireland but across the continent.
This not only prompted Justice Minister Alan Shatter to introduce a national Missing Person Day each December, but also to lobby for it to be introduced across Europe from next year.
"We are delighted that after two years of campaigning, a national Missing Persons Day has been announced. The issue of missing people has become very personal to all of the students involved in the campaign," said Ms Kilgallon.
"The recent announcement by Minister Shatter gives us great encouragement and we hope that others will be inspired by our project," she added.
Ms Kilgallon said that during the visit pupils presented President Higgins with a plague and a sapling Red Oak tree that will planted in his personal garden at the Aras.
"The Oak symbolises the strength shown by the families of those who have gone missing. It will be nice to think that the memory of their loved ones will be forever cherished through the planting of the tree," she said.