Mayo’s Inspirational Woman 2017 candidates announced
Mayo’s Inspirational Woman Awards will be held this Saturday, Nollaig na mBan, January 6. The successful nominee will be presented with her award by Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin at a lunch at the Westport Country Lodge.
The awards night is a fundraising event in support of the work of Mayo Rape Crisis Centre, which provides information, support, advocacy and counselling for anyone who has experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives.
This year sees seven worthy award nominees, each of whom have been nominated by people who felt inspired by them: Ann McMahon, Nancy Glavey, Rita Scott, Keira Keogh, Natalya Pestova, Roisin Keane and Mary Gibbons.
Castlebar woman and founder of Café Rua Ann McMahon was nominated by chef Lynda Forrester for her persistence, vision, professionalism and hard work in bringing Café Rua to life. Ann has been described as putting Castlebar on the culinary map in Ireland through many years of hard graft, courage and focus. Lynda also referred to her encouragement of young chefs at the café, which now employs over 40 people in the Mayo area and is run by Ann’s two children Colleen and Aran.
Nancy Glavey from Westport was nominated by her great admirer and fellow social activist Noeline Haylett. At 88 years of age, Nancy (who is now 95) travelled to a remote part of Ghana where Haylett regularly brings containers of school, medical and necessary supplies. Noeline met Nancy when she was working in the social services centre in Westport. A lifelong community doer, Nancy is still involved in local issues and continues to play an active role in helping her friends in Ghana.
Rita Scott, Belmullet, was nominated by Bernie Kavanagh for her unstinting sense of compassion and creativity in helping others. For many years, she has been pivotal in organising fundraising events for all kinds of causes, including children battling illness, and their carers and their siblings.
Psychologist Keira Keogh, Westport, was nominated by Cormac O’Malley for her energy, persistence, expertise, compassion and caring. Keira works with children with various behavioural difficulties, providing support, direction and help for many, many families. She is also involved locally with Junior Chamber International, leading Ireland to its first ever JCI International Debating Win in 2016. She is also involved in numerous local charity efforts most recently the Strictly Come Dancing to raise money for CF.
Nominated by Beebee Sahaboolea of the Old Convent Direct Provision Centre in Ballyhaunis, Russia-born Mayo Intercultural Action worker Natalya Pestova has been living in Mayo for almost 16 years. Living under the frugal rules of Direct Provision, away from family and country, is never easy. Natalya offers residents a listening ear and support, always going the extra mile to make life easier for them. Sensitive, watchful and creative, she has organised numerous activities and initiatives that have helped allay the loneliness, fear and distress that so often accompanies the journey of an asylum seeker.
Róisín Keane was nominated by her brother Tomas for what she has taught him about humanity and for always looking out for him. Róisín was instrumental in bringing the White Ribbon Campaign to GMIT while she was a student there. The White Ribbon Campaign involves men addressing the issue of violence against women. Thanks to her efforts, GMIT was the first campus to be named as a White Ribbon Institution. Her work on gender equality and human rights have been an inspiration to her brother, and others.
Lecanvey woman Mary Gibbons, nominated her friend Aileen Mulkeen, is the Home School Liaison Teacher in Davitt College, Castlebar. She has overcome much through her resilience, courage and compassion. While education and the pursuit of it are a core component of Mary’s journey, she is an advocate for positive mental health and has completed suicide prevention and intervention training. Aileen says that not only does she reach out a helping hand to all she meets, she also handles ‘every curve ball thrown at her’.
Mayo’s Inspirational Woman Awards are sponsored by Therese and Paul O’Grady of Mayo Sports Clinic. Tickets for the event are available at Westport Country Lodge Hotel, through the Mayo RCC Office or from the committee on 087 177 0478.