A NEWCASTLE West man has been named national volunteer of the year in recognition of his five decades of community and charity work.
Seamus Hunt, the chairman of the Newcastle West Community Council, picked up the national community development volunteer prize at the Muintir na Tire annual awards in Bansha, Tipperary last Saturday.
Seamus, who is also involved in a number of other local volunteer groups, said that while he was “delighted” to win the award, he accepted it on behalf of his peers.
“It’s recognition for the other members the community council too, for all the work they’ve done with a number of projects over the years. I was happy to accept it on their behalf. I’m delighted, of course”.
As well as the community council, Seamus was a founding member of the Newcastle West and District Pipe Band, is involved with the Red Cross and St Vincent de Paul and volunteers with the rural community care network.
Prior to last Saturday’s awards ceremony, Seamus knew that he was to receive a regional volunteer award after he was nominated by his colleagues on the community council. However unbeknownst to anyone, he had also been picked for the national development volunteer of the year award.
He received both awards and a cheque for €500 from John Hogan, president of Muintir na Tire, MEP Sean Kelly and Ronan Bunting of Task, the award sponsors.
Seamus attended the awards with his wife Mary and daughter Lisa, as well as Hannah Mortell and Joan Dwane of the Newcastle West Community Council.
Ms Mortell said that everyone was thrilled with Mr Hunt’s success, describing him as “a great old warrior” for community causes in Newcastle West.
“He’s been in the pipe band for 50 years, he was one of the founding members. He was living up at Assumpta Park at the time, and he got all the kids into the band and off the street.
“He’s in the Red Cross, he’s in the community council, he volunteers with the rural support network. He’s wonderful, and he’s out at every meeting of the community council, no matter what.
Mr Hunt said that he has no intention of easing off in his community work, though he may look to pass on the chairmanship of the community council next year.
“I’m very happy to keep on, but it might do the council good to have a change in chairmanship. But that’s for another day, down the line”.