Mayo girl named as Ireland’s Inspirational Young Person at Gala Retail Awards

Gary Desmond (CEO Gala Retail), with winner of Ireland’s Inspirational Young Person, 15 year old Sophia Shally, and Gerry Lennon, (Commercial Director, INM). Photo: Iain White / Fennell Photography 2019

Gary Desmond (CEO Gala Retail), with winner of Ireland’s Inspirational Young Person, 15 year old Sophia Shally, and Gerry Lennon, (Commercial Director, INM). Photo: Iain White / Fennell Photography 2019

Following a nationwide search, Ireland’s most Inspirational people were announced at the inaugural Gala Retail / Sunday Independent Inspiration Awards, which took place last week

At the awards 15-year-old Sophia Shally from Westport scooped one of the top awards and was named as Ireland’s Inspirational Young Person.

Nominated by her mum for the Inspiration Awards, Sophia was presented with the Inspirational Young Person accolade by The Circle’s Paddy Smyth, which was awarded to Sophia in recognition of the strength and positivity she has, and continues to, display.

At just seven months, a devastating fire left her with life-changing burns across her face, hands and scalp. In spite of the painful treatment, which is ongoing, as well as onerous travel and long periods of time away from her friends and family, Sophia finds the strength to stay positive.

A gifted musician, Sophia uses her talents to give back to the community and recently created a CD with her mother which helped raise €10,000 for the Kevin Bell Repatriation trust. Sophia has experienced so much suffering and pain but continues to love her life and inspire everyone around her with fundraising efforts for various charities.

Gary Desmond, CEO of Gala Retail said: "Brave, courageous, selfless and inspirational are just some of the words that go some way to describing our finalists and winners at the Sunday Independent / Gala Retail Inspiration Awards.

“Sophia and the fellow winners are true examples of people who are making Ireland a better place for us all. My fellow judges and I were incredibly impressed by the strength and positivity displayed by Sophia despite all the pain and treatments she has gone through and continues to go through. Sophia is a worthy winner and our Inspirational Young Person."

 

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