Remarkable Clonmel volunteer Amanda Quigley honoured as unsung hero

Michael Heverin

Reporter:

Michael Heverin

Remarkable Clonmel volunteer Amanda Quigley honoured as unsung hero

Amanda Quigley accepts her award from Mayor Catherine Carey with members of the Anderson family, Clonmel Rotary, judges and organisers.

One of the most remarkable volunteers and community activists in Clonmel has been honoured as an unsung hero.

Amanda Quigley, who is involved in a huge range of activities in the town designed to help those in need of services, was announced as the winner of the Eileen Anderson Unsung Hero Award in Clonmel Town Hall on Wednesday evening.

A stunned Amanda said she likes to do her work under cover - but added "I'm not under cover anymore but I just love doing the work I do".

In a message of congratulations to Amanda, one of the many groups she's involved with has paid her a glowing tribute.

Recovery College South East, dealing with education in mental health and addiction, says she's a huge part of their programme.

They say - "We, here at the Recovery College South East are delighted that Amanda Quigley, our peer educator, had received this prestigious award.  

The Recovery College South East is a new innovative education initiative, covering the areas of Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.  

"The primary goal of the College is to develop and deliver educational workshops in Recovery and Wellness in Mental Health and Addiction.  All our workshops are co-produced and co-delivered in partnership with the person with the lived experience, their family and supporters and the professionals working in the sector of Mental Health and Addiction.  

"Courses are designed to help develop and build skills and understanding.  We believe that education offers new hope and opportunity for us all to learn more about Mental Health and Addiction challenges, personal recovery journeys, coping skills, practical skills and how to get the best from living every day.

"Amanda is the Principal Peer Educator in The Recovery College South East. She has a unique combination of energy, enthusiasm and innate kindness towards others along with a larger than life personality.  It is no surprise to us in the Recovery College that Amanda has received this award.  She is a worthy winner".

Amanda received her award from Mayor Catherine Carey who paid tribute to Amanda's diverse range of community activities.

Mayor Carey said the award honours the memory of Eileen Anderson, a generous woman who devoted her life to the welfare of others, and remarked that Amanda was a fitting winner to carry on that message.

The award is organised by Clonmel Borough Council in association with Clonmel Rotary Club and the committee is chaired by Darren Ryan.

Eileen anderson unsung hero nominees

All the nominees pictured at the ceremony.

Mr Ryan listed the volume of activity that Amanda is involved in and that won over the votes of the judges.

She began her volunteering with community youth projects in the town; then became involved in a local drugs initiative and a drop-in service for substance abuse.

She became an advocate for the Irish Foster Care Association and a member of the Irish First Mothers support group and gave evidence to the commission for reform into Mother and Baby  Homes.

More recently she has been a volunteer counsellor with Clonmel Cancer CARE centre and Circle of Friends of Tipp town.

She is also active with Clonmel Soup Kitchen and initiated a Food Cloud programme to collect and disperse food to those most in need.

A friend said of her - "On Christmas Eve when everywhere is shut and people are at home with their families, you will find Amanda driving around town to make sure food is delivered to those who need it most".

Clonmel Town Hall contained a who's who of some of the top volunteers in the community and speaker after speaker said they were all winners on the night.

Also nominated for the award were Pearl Sheehan, for  her work on behalf of the Red Cross; Jennie Kiely, a founder member of Ballingeary ICA; former Mayor and the driving force in town twinning, Vera Hewitt; June Looby from the River Suir Suicide Patrol Group;  Ena Doyle, a Vincent de Paul worker and also involved in the soup kitchen; Ardfinnan community activist TJ O'Brien; and Tino Castineiro, the founder of Suir Dragon Paddlers for women recovering from breast cancer.