Boyzone singer honoured for €4m autism fundraisers
BOYZONE singer Keith Duffy's hard work to aid children with autism has earned him the title of philanthropist of the year.
The 39-year-old received the accolade in Dublin yesterday at the annual awards to credit those working in the charitable sector.
The father-of-two first started fundraising and working with Irish Autism Action (IAA) after his daughter Mia was diagnosed with the condition when she was just 18 months old.
Over the last decade the singer has helped to raise almost €4m, which contributed to the opening of 13 schools that employ the 'Applied Behavioural Analysis' programme for autistic children.
The former 'Coronation Street' star's wife Lisa, who assists him with his charity work, joined him yesterday at the event hosted by radio presenter Marian Finucane.
The couple host a number of popular fundraising events throughout the year.
The 'Philanthropist of the Year' awards are run by the Community Foundation for Ireland, and the organisation's CEO Tina Roche said that the winners "highlight the impact sustained long-term giving can have on a specific cause".
Also honoured at yesterday's ceremony were corporate winners Diageo for the 'Arthur Guinness Fund', which annually grants money to young social entrepreneurs.
The late Hugh O'Regan, who died in November 2012, was posthumously awarded the inaugural Brian Wilson Award.
He was honoured for his "innovative initiatives across education, the arts, local development and overseas aid".