Volunteer awards 2023

Eighteen volunteers recognised at the 2023 Special Olympics Ireland Volunteers Awards

16 Oct 2023

Eighteen volunteers were recognised for their outstanding contributions at the Special Olympics Ireland Volunteer Awards held at the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport Hotel on Saturday 23 September. 

75 star volunteers were nominated across five main awards categories. The World Summer Games 2003-2023 Anniversary Award was a new category for this year’s awards, recognising volunteers who were inspired to begin volunteering by the 2003 World Summer Games in Ireland, while the Spirit of Special Olympics Award recognised volunteers whose inspirational impact creates an environment where sports and volunteering can thrive.

Awards were also presented to adult and youth volunteers for each of the five Special Olympics Ireland regions, and there were three Distinguished Service Award winners.

The ceremony was helmed by experienced sports broadcaster Gráinne McElwain as MC, and featured award presentations from athletes Jonathan Deering and Emma Johnstone and Special Olympics Ireland Board members Dr. Brendan O’Brien, Angela Litter and Laura Murphy. 

The audience was addressed by Dr. Brendan O’Brien and SOI CEO Matt English, and a video and slide presentation was also shown.

The event was Special Olympics Ireland’s first in-person Volunteer Awards ceremony following two virtual awards nights held during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matt English, Special Olympics Ireland CEO, said: “Congratulations to all Volunteer Awards winners and a heartfelt thanks to all Special Olympics Ireland volunteers, who are the lifeblood of our organisation and essential to our mission. Our volunteers work directly with athletes to provide opportunities, organise training and events, spread joy, and ultimately change lives for the better.

I would like to thank the wonderful MC for the Awards, Gráinne McElwain, and to recognise the important involvement of athletes, Board members, and our corporate partners in presenting awards, addressing the ceremony, and sitting on the judging panel.”

For a highlight video of the Awards, visit Special Olympics Ireland Volunteer Awards 2023 

Photos of award winners are available at https://www.skyfish.com/sh/396e110abccce78fa096b8b8956068c6402d3f93/1aa6038f/2329461

Details of the award winners are as follows:

WSG 2003 - 2023 Anniversary Award: Kate Pollock 

Volunteer Leader 2023: Frank Donnelly 

Spirit of Special Olympics Award 2023: Mary Davitt 

Youth Volunteer 2023:  Lauren McKinney 

Club Volunteer 2023: Nicki Rankin 

Eastern Region Volunteer 2023: Ciara Dolan 

Eastern Region Youth Volunteer 2023: Emma O’Flynn 

Ulster Region Volunteer 2023: Frank Donnelly 

Ulster Region Youth Volunteer 2023: Breannain Collins 

Munster Region Volunteer 2023: Pádraig Aherne 

Munster Region Youth Volunteer 2023: Amy Slattery 

Connaught Region Volunteer 2023: Patricia Creaven 

Connaught Region Youth Volunteer 2023: Tara McLaughlin 

Leinster Region Volunteer 2023: Paddy Slattery 

Leinster Region Youth Volunteer 2023: Olive O'Keefe 

Distinguished Service Award: Pat Doherty 

Distinguished Service Award: Teresa Ward 

Distinguished Service Award: Dorothy Kavanagh