Westport's smartest travellers revealed

Singing, rapping, learning and dancing were all part of the Operation Transportation Award ceremony recently held in Westport Town Hall. Teams from the challenge came along to find out who Westport’s Smartest Travel Team was and also to enjoy the entertainment from special guests Luke Concannon and Jimmy Davis.

The foyer of Westport Town Hall hosted a climate change expo for participants to view on arrival showing the great work been down by schools and community groups in Westport to help improve the environment. To kick off the award ceremony musicians Jimmy Davis and Luke Concannon blew the crowd away with a powerful rap about humanity, followed by a few words from Cathaoirleach Christy Hyland. Overall results of what has been achieved so far by Westport Smarter Travel provided the perfect entrance to Operation Transportation and how the participants are helping create positive change in Westport. Damien Doherty, chairman of Rice College student council brought the importance of this positive change home to everyone with his meaningful short speech on climate change.

A total of 167 people in 35 teams participated in Operation Transportation Lenten Challenge and between them recorded more than 11,000 smarter travel journeys. Participants have changed their own behaviour. “The challenge has encouraged me to make more of an effort to carpool. I’m really enjoying the experience, it’s very social and I’m saving money,” said Hilda Carroll from the Second Walkers team who took part in the challenge. “There’s a real sense of achievement when you choose smarter travel and we’re delighted to be setting a good example for the school and community,” said Annmarie Campion from The Stormy Quay Schoolers team.

A number of people stood out during the challenge as true leaders that inspired their team and others to participate and choose smarter travel. None more so than Annmarie Campion and Ariadna Gomez Kelly, both of whom were presented with the Operation Transportation Most Inspirational Person Award.

Participating in the challenge, recording results and compiling the data was a task for all team leaders. With 16 school teams participating, the coordinators in Rice College and the Sacred Heart School had a particularly demanding role. Anna Doherty, SHS and Fergal Macken, Rice College and his TY helpers Dylan Ralph, Elliot McDonnell, John Keane, Alex O’Riain were given small tokens of appreciation as a thank you from Westport Smarter Travel.

The overall awards were divided into two categories; schools and public. In the schools category Team Sticks won most improved team, increasing their smarter travel journeys by 40 per cent over the course of the seven weeks. Westport’s Smartest Travel School Team runners-up went to Walking On Cars with 842 journeys, and Westport’s Smartest Travel School Team 2016 was Team Happy Feet with 982 smarter travel journeys winning a day trip and adventure activities with Clare Island Adventures.

The public section results were equally as impressive with runners-up, Second Walkers making 699 journeys, and the final prize of the night went to Team 161, Westport’s Smartest Travel Team 2016. Team 161 made 721 smarter travel journeys and completely changed the way they travel especially for the short journeys necessary for work. Members of Sacred Heart School staff, the team now walk to town for school errands and have also started walking, cycling and Park n’ Striding to work and plan to keep it up even now that the challenge is over.


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