Having worn many hats over her five decades of volunteering with Wexford Festival Opera, Eleanor White has been named as the 2019 Wexford Festival Opera Volunteer of the Year.
The announcement was made by Artistic Director David Agler and John Devitt of sponsors Ecclesiastical Insurance, at the National Opera House in front of a capacity crowd of festival volunteers who attended the first public dress rehearsal of this year - 'Don Quichotte'.
Eleanor's association with Wexford Festival Opera began in 1971 when she was a young student in the Loreto Secondary school. Initially selling programmes, Eleanor was overcome with the spirit of the Festival and returned year on year, volunteering in a number of areas including the press office, accommodation and even manager of the opening night ceremony and fireworks on the quay. Eleanor served on the board for many years and now heads up the Festival's Volunteer sub-committee. Based on her professional experience she has also assisted the organisation to update its existing child safeguarding and volunteering guidelines.
Head of Volunteers, David Maguire, a long-time volunteer himself said, 'Eleanor's contribution to the Festival cannot be underestimated. She has had an enormous effect, not just on our patrons, but on the entire community of Wexford. Eleanor has also been instrumental in the development of the Festival as an organisation. She is one of the true gems of the volunteer corp. This award is well deserved.'
John Devitt of sponsors Ecclesiastical Insurance spoke of the wonderful work that volunteers do on the festival and the level of professionalism they bring. He also congratulated Eleanor on her award.