Golden moment for Fingal duo

Published 09/10/2012 | 12:40

TWO YOUNG inspirational people from Fingal have received Gaisce Gold Medals for their outstanding community work and significant personal achievements.

Some 70 Gold Awards were presented by President Michael D Higgins to young people who excelled and achieved their goals at a ceremony in Dublin Castle. Gaisce, the President's Award, is presented to modern day heroes and heroines aged between the ages of 15 and 25 years who achieve personal goals in different types of activity including community involvement, personal skills, physical recreation and adventure. Among the recipients this year was 20-year-old Tomas Bell from Portmarnock, a scout leader who covered the full distance of the Kerry Way in just five days. He already holds both a Bronze and Silver Gaisce Award. A member of the Reserve Defence Forces, he has just achieved his lifelong dream of securing a place on the Defence Forces. Also presented with the award was 21-year-old primary school teacher Shona O'Donoghue from Donabate. She spent her summer helping with the St Vincent de Paul Summer camp for children in Sunshine House Balbriggan. She set herself the challenge of learning Italian and walked part of the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Route. It is estimated that Gaisce participants contribute over 550,000 voluntary hours in their local communities each year, a total of six million voluntary hours since the Gaisce Award programme was established in 1985. John Concannon, Chairman of the Gaisce Awards, said: ' The Gaisce vision for Ireland is a country where young people dream big and fulfil their potential. This year the contribution and active participation of over 20,000 new young people in Ireland was facilitated through the Gaisce Award.' 'It is inspiring to see so many young people receive their Gold Awards today, acknowledging the exceptional level of commitment to personal development and community involvement of the 70 awardees. ' The success of Gaisce is enabled by the enormous effort of thousands of volunteer President Award Leaders (PALs) across the island of Ireland, whom I would like to thank for the leadership and support they give to the Award participants,' he added.

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