People from all over the county descended on the Irish wheelchair Association’s 20th anniversary celebrations in Kenagh Community Centre on Monday, February 17.
The day began with a warm welcome extended to all by Martin Tarmey when over 180 people gathered in St Dominic’s Church to attend a touching and inspirational mass celebrated by Fr Tom Barden. Tony Moran was joined by Helena & Mel Crowe who sang so beautifully during the mass.
Addressing the congregation, Fr Tom spoke of his huge admiration for the work being done by the Irish Wheelchair Association and the staff and volunteers in Kenagh.
The mass included readings, presentation of gifts and the lighting of candles in memory of all those who have passed to their eternal reward and especially Jimmy Hussey RIP who provided music and song on many previous occasions.
All were invited to attend Kenagh Community Centre for lunch and entertainment, followed by an awards ceremony.
Mr Tarmey commenced by giving a brief history of the last 20 years since the centre opened on February 17, 2000. On that day nine members attended.
Since then the centre has acted as a hub in the local community, a place where people can get advice, seek support and learn new skills by taking part in programmes, activities and social events that make a big difference to all their lives.
Today, twenty years on, there are over 100 members who attend their services. Sadly some of these members are now deceased, but are fondly remembered.
At present IWA are able to provide activities such as;
• computer training, gardening, woodwork
• pilates, pool, boccia, yoga, bowling
• jewellery making, art, bingo
• reflexology, aromatherapy, learning to drive
Kenagh IWA has a great relationship with Ballymahon Mercy Secondary School.
Transition Years students & teacher Kate Bohan from the school have supported them with their Angel Day campaign and also singing at the annual Christmas dinner and Mr Tarmey used the occasion to recognise their contribution.
He thanked all who participated in the mass, Fr Tom Barden, who has given so much of his time and dedication in preparation for the celebration, Tony Moran, Helena & Mel Crowe.
He thanked Bernadette Kelly, who kindly made the 20th anniversary cake and Stephen Dowd and his staff for preparing the wonderful buffet.
He also thanked those who helped both inside and outside the centre with decorations, stewards, car park and Kenagh Community Centre committee and staff for their support; The Longford Leader and Shannonside radio for their coverage throughout the years.
Mr Tarmey added, “We would like to thank Kenagh Co-Op, LWETB, Longford Adult Education, Community Education, Longford County Council, Community Enhancement Scheme, NCBI, Longford Sports Partnership, Seamus Butler Longford County Council, Brian our local Garda, DPOL, St Christopher’s Longford, Athlone & Roscommon Branches members and staff, and all who have worked in partnership with us over the last 20 years.
“I would like to express my appreciation to Hugh Farrell our Regional Manager, our dedicated branch committee members led by Mrs Chris Moran, chairperson, all the staff and volunteers whose work and dedication help to make the centre the warm and welcoming place that it is.”
A presentation of crafts and gifts made by members in Kenagh Centre followed;
1. Stewart Glendenning; crafted stool assembled and weaved
2. Sean Carthy; St Bridget’s Cross
3. Linda Clarke; crafted crochet cross
4. John O’Reilly; IWA Angel Pins
5. Tracey Heighton; handmade weaved basket in IWA colours
6. Bernard Reilly; IPAD represents the computer classes
7. Dermot Walsh; handmade window box this represents the woodwork class
8. Colm Diffley; planted container representing gardening class
9. Nora Nowell; boccia ball & bat winners in the blitz competition
10. Pat Hackett; boccia medal Kenagh IWA were the overall winners
11. Patrick Mc Neill; pool cue
12. Cyril Gerety; group photo of IWA visit to Aras an Uachtarain in 2019