Volunteerism recognised as St Patrick’s Day parade Grand Marshal chosen

Synonymous with community volunteerism, Gerry Johnson, chairperson of the Athlone Tidy Towns committee, has been selected as the Croi na hÉireann St Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal.

The Croi na hÉireann Festival Committee confirmed the Grand Marshal choice this week, the colourful St Patrick’s Day Parade to grace the streets of Athlone on Sunday, March 18, the culmination of a five day festival celebrating the national feast day on March 17.

Committee chairperson, John Henson, congratulated Gerry on his selection noting the prominent role which the Tidy Towns committee continues to play in the presentation of Athlone.

“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression and certainly the local Tidy Towns committee have played a huge part in raising the standards of cleanliness and appearance of Athlone and its environs and presenting a really good first impression of Athlone to all visitors.

“This is also reflected by the three Gold Medal standards achieved in the national tidy towns competition. Their hosting of relevant local estates competitions has helped to develop a ‘buy in’ from such residents, increase the volunteer numbers and enhance pride within the respective neighbourhoods.

“The committee is a voluntary group who liaise with local councillors, county council officials, council employees and relevant departments and the person who unites all such groups is the chairperson, Gerry Johnson. The beautiful sensory garden at Athlone Regional Sports Centre is a perfect example of different bodies coming together to work for the greater good of all in the town,” Mr Henson stated.

Reflecting upon his selection as Grand Marshal, Mr Johnson stated that he was both “delighted” and “honoured” to be chosen for the role, gratefully accepting the prominent St Patrick’s Day Parade position as a representative of the Athlone Tidy Towns committee.

“It is most gratifying to see the hard work and efforts of this committee being duly recognised in this manner and hopefully it will continue to raise the profile of this group and lead to a greater awareness and participation levels at a local level,” Mr Johnson commented.

Treasurer of the Croi na hÉireann Festival committee, Cllr Frankie Keena, noted that preparations for this year’s five day festival are well advanced, it being heartening to witness such interest from local community representatives who want to become involved in the organisation process.

“The Croi na hÉireann Festival committee are offering a free opportunity to all groups and organisations to showcase their work, talents and skills either by participating in the our five day event or marching in the parade.

“In this regard, I would encourage those community representatives who wish to become a part of this year’s festival to immediately reach out to a committee member so they can play an active role in our popular festival,” Cllr Keena stated.

To help alleviate the costs involved in hosting the annual festival, the Croi na hÉireann committee has organised a fun table quiz to take place in The Bounty on Thursday, January 25, at 8pm.

“With a cost of €40 per table of four, there will be fantastic prizes on offer, so please come along and give your support,” Cllr Keena concluded.

 

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