Volunteers and frontline heroes celebrated at virtual Galway City Mayor’s Awards ceremony last night

Frontline heroes and volunteers across the city were honoured by the city last night when Mayor Mike Cubbard presented the annual Mayor’s Awards.

The awards, which are normally celebrated with a gala-type ceremony, were live streamed on Galway City Council’s YouTube channel this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the spirit of volunteerism in Galway City came through just the same.

The annual awards formally recognise the outstanding contributions that local volunteers, community groups and voluntary organisations have made in supporting the residents of Galway City during the past year. In these unprecedented times, it is even more important to acknowledge those who have volunteered on the front line during the COVID-19 crisis bringing vital supplies, support and comfort to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Speaking on the winners and nominees at the awards, Mayor Mike Cubbard said that 2020 has been a year like no other, and was maybe the longest year many of us have ever experienced.

“In difficult times, the Award winners and the Nominees for this year’s Mayors Awards have shown the critical combination of leadership and kindness to keep Galway and its citizens safe, healthy and active.

“In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic in particular, when people have had to focus on their own safety and the safety of their friends and family, to still have time to give to others shows a real strength of character and is something to be widely celebrated.”

While, traditionally this ceremony has been exclusively about the fantastic work of Galway City’s volunteers, given their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the heroic effort of frontline workers over the past 12 months was also recognised.

To mark the awards, Mayor Cubbard launched the Galway City Community Spirit video - a short video that was commissioned to showcase and highlight the breath of community spirit and solidarity that was shown over the past year and continues very strongly, making a significant impact on the quality of life for all communities across Galway City.

This video can now be viewed on Galway City Council’s YouTube channel.

Mayor Cubbard said that in planning this year’s awards ceremony, it was universally agreed that words could not adequately express the gratitude of the people.

“For the inspiring contribution of volunteers and frontline workers over these past months, something special was needed to show just how much their efforts have been appreciated, valued and cherished,” said Mayor Cubbard.

Each of the recipients in the nine categories have responded in an extraordinary way to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 100 individuals and groups, who were nominated across all categories, will receive a certificate from the Mayor in recognition of their voluntary activity in community life across the city. The recipients in each of the award categories were:

Arts, Culture, Heritage & Cúrsaí Gaeilge Award:

Dr Chaosheng Zhang for his beautiful photography over the past 12 months in capturing Galway at its best and for his kind and generous approach to sharing his creative talent for free with the people of Galway

Residents & Local Areas Award:

Martina Murray for her great example, her endless amount of pride in her communtiy, in particular in keeping Renmore clean and litter free for over 20 years. Martina leads by example, coming out to clean up no matter if it is hail, rain or shine.

Community Service & Social Inclusion (Individual ) Award:

Mary Joyce-Glynn for her enormous effort and love of wildlife over several decades with the Galway and Claddagh Swan Rescue, going above and beyond in her voluntary contributions caring for our wildlife and local community.

Community Service & Social Inclusion (Group ) Award:

Galway Volunteer Centre - Community Call Shopping Volunteers for their dedication, responsiveness, willingness and making a critical difference to the city by ensuring the most vulnerable among us were provided with practical assistance, organising weekly shopping and medication to be delivered with great care, friendliness, warmth and safely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Older Person Volunteer of the Year Award:

Con O’Donovan and Martin Crowley as a volunteer duo for their lifetime of consistent volunteering with numerous community groups and initiatives within the Mervue area, continuing as stalwart volunteers and supporting so many within their local community during COVID-19. They represent the strength of the older generation and kept going despite COVID-19.

Sports Volunteer of the Year Award:

Row to Recovery for their collective achievement, positive, can do attitude that takes them out of our comfort zones and helps push the boundries in a safe, supportive and empowering environment.

Children and Youth Support Award:

Galway Childline Listening Volunteer Team for their outstanding commitment to the Childline service in particular during COVID-19, giving their time to listen to our young people through the toughest of times, offering a confidential, non-directive and non-judgemental approach free, 24 hours a day, every day.

Young Volunteer of the Year Award:

Scott Moran and Hannah Moran as a volunteer duo responding to the ‘Community Call’ in a pro-active way to support and care for their elderly neighbours, reducing a sense of isolation within the local community and keeping themselves busy, with a clear sense of purposes throughout the pandemic.

Environmental Sustainability Award:

St. Patrick’s Primary School for their extraordinary contribution and commitment towards protecting and enhancing our environment through their ‘Connecting Nature with Wellbeing’ theme, building on the environmental work that has taken place in the school since 2019, emphasising and showcasing how important the garden is to our health and wellbeing.

The winners will be presented with a beautifully handcrafted wooden plaque, made by Galway wood turners Ambrose and Brid O’Halloran, as a gift from Mayor Cubbard.


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