LONDON KERRY PERSON OF YEAR ANNOUNCED: Gaelic Athletic Association stalwart Paddy Griffin has been named as the Kerry Association London Person of the Year for 2012.
The Minard Lispole native is marking his 50th year residing in the British capital. Griffin was selected as this year's recipient of the Denis Reidy Memorial Shield is recognition for efforts he put into Kerry life in London over the last half century.
He is a former secretary of the London County GAA Board and has written a book, entitled Gaelic Hearts, on the history of the sport in London. He is also a former journalist with the Irish World newspaper, one of two weekly publications dedicated to Irish life in Britain and is a well-known figure in the Irish community near his north London base in Neasden/Dollis Hill..
He was one of the leading lights of The Kingdom Gaelic Football Club in London during the 1970s and helped steer it to six county championship final wins during his period in charge, The club, in its current guise, as the Kingdom Kerry Gaels, has qualified for its first county final in five years and that will be played at Ruislip on October 14.
He narrowly missed out on selection last year by just one vote but topped the poll at the recent Kerry Association London nomination meeting.
He said: "It is a great honour to get this award but I am not sure if I am a worthy winner. I am accepting this on behalf of my old friend, the late, Denis Reidy. The Reidy family were very good to me when I first came over here when I just 19. He was a very ordinary man who did great things for the Irish in London. I would be letting Denis down if I did not accept it."
Griffin spent the first 20 years of London life, like many an Irishman, working in construction before working in various office jobs.
The 59-year-old served as the secretary of the London County GAA board for 12 years between 1980 and 1992.
"When I look back there are a lot of things I would like to have done for the GAA but the job took a lot of dedication and commitment and it was hard to do everything you would have liked to do. The biggest change I have seen was the switch from club level to county level. Before everything was done for the club first but now there is a lot of preparation given to the county teams and it is great that both the footballers and hurlers get big games against other counties. It is good for the local scene over here too because people get to see their home county in action in Ruislip and that encourages them to participate in the GAA over here."
Griffin will be presented with his award at the Kerry Association London's annual dinner and dance at the Crown Moran Hotel, in Cricklewood on October 26. He will be joined his wife Josie, who is also from Lispole, and his two sons, Thomas and Senan and his daughter Sinead on the night.
Tickets are now on sale and can be obtained from any committee member (see website for contacts).
The following night the KAL will lend its support to the annual fundraiser for St Joseph's Nursing Home in Kilorglin. This event at St Mary's and St Andrew's Social Club in Dollis Hill is organised by KAL member Dan Tim O'Sullivan.
The association holds regular meetings at The Kingdom Bar and new members are always welcome. Enquires about membership or any of the association's events can be directed towards secretary Tara Cronin on +44 7939 017022 or any committee member.