Corkman scribe Paddy and team acknowledged for Concern work
Group has raised over €200,000 for the charity
A familiar face in Cork sporting circles has been recognised for dedicating himself to raising funds to tackle poverty in the world's poorest countries.
Retired Mitchelstown garda Paddy Ryan received an Outstanding Commitment Award at Concern's volunteer awards in Dublin from the organisation's co-founder, John O'Loughlin Kennedy, and its chief executive, Dominic MacSorley.
The popular sports writer heads the Mitchelstown Concern Group and estimates to have collected over €200,000 over the last 21 years thanks to generous donations made by the local community at church gate collections and during Concern's Fast campaign.
"Paddy has always been very good at promoting Concern and fundraising events in Mitchelstown," said Mr MacSorley.
"He just goes out there and does it and we owe him and all our volunteers a huge thanks." Paddy, a father of three with three grandchildren, accepted the award on behalf of all volunteers in the Mitchelstown Concern Group, which included his late wife, Margaret, until her passing five years ago.
"Margaret did a lot of work for Concern and organised a lot of people," said Paddy. "We had a team of about 50 loyal collectors over the years who have been coming out to fundraise and they all deserve great praise.
"We are also blessed with many younger members of the community who have stepped in to help when people were unable to do collections or who replaced members who have passed away. There is a good blend of youth and experience," he added.
Paddy explained that he took up the reins of organising Concern's collections in Mitchelstown in 1997 after the passing of renowned local charity worker and fundraiser Josephine O'Connor.
An avid GAA enthusiastic, Paddy is known at club and county grounds across Ireland, reporting on games and is one of the best known and most widely read Gaelic sports journalists in Cork.
Additionally, Paddy is the local columnist for Mitchelstown in print and local radio and is well known for his writings in A keen follower of Cork and Tyrone teams, his volunteer work earned due recognition. Concern's Volunteer Awards was created five years ago to celebrate the vital contribution made by the aid agency's 1,200 volunteers in Ireland.
The organisation was formed by volunteers 50 years ago, in 1968, as part of a major humanitarian response to famine in Nigeria caused by the Biafran civil war - a milestone that is being marked this year by the organisation at a number of events around the country.