Galway volunteers, Louise Borre and Mary Arrigan-Langan both took home awards at the national Volunteer Ireland Awards last week. More than one million people in Ireland volunteer and these awards aim to say thank you for the hard work, dedication, and impact of volunteers across the country.
Louise Borre has been volunteering with the Galway International Arts Festival since 2014 and is such a dedicated volunteer that she has become a Big Top team leader - of whom there are only four in a team of 600.
She is so valued in her role that venue managers have specifically requested her as their right hand volunteer. Ms Borre manages the venue’s volunteers, including their catering, uniforms, attendance and any outstanding issues. Louise works part time with An Cosán but also finds time to volunteer there once her shift has finished.
Mary Arrigan-Langan set up Octopus Swimming Club in 1981 which allows people with disabilities to become ‘water free’. She has been involved with the club for 37 years providing weekly swim sessions and hardly missing a session in all that time. The club has more than forty members ranging in age from eight to 74 years with every member getting the physical and emotional benefits from swimming and being part of a club. Many members are non verbal, but even through eye contact Mary Arrigan-Langan can connect in a very special way.
According to Galway Volunteer Centre Manager Donncha Foley, the city is very lucky to have volunteers like Louise Borre and Mary Arrigan-Langan.
“I’d like to congratulate them on this achievement. Both have very different stories to share but what they have in common is the drive to give back and make a difference in their community. Hopefully their stories will inspire others to get involved in their communities.”
The 11th Volunteer Ireland Awards took place place last week in the Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown.