CROAGH grandmother Josie Ahern has won the Local Hero title at this year’s Woman’s Way & Beko Mum of the Year Awards.
At the awards ceremony in Dublin, she joined other award winners, among them Kathleen Watkins, who won Celebrity Mum of the Year, and Glenda Gilson who was named as New Mum of the Year.
Broadcasting legend Gloria Hunniford also attended to accept the Icon 2019 Award.
This was the fourth year of the awards, which showcase and celebrate the evolving role of Irish mothers and highlights their contribution across all facets of society.
“I was pleased. I was dead happy,” Josie said about her win. Her daughters entered her for the competition and she was, she explained, at the mart selling cattle when she told her about it.
At 80, she is still farming although now she concentrates on suckler cattle. “I gave up the milking when the lads were done,” she explained.
The lads are her four daughters and one son whom she reared at Killea, Croagh.
According to the citation, Josie “has been looking after both the young and the old in her community for many years as well as undertaking numerous volunteering activities. Caring for the elderly living in remote places, offering her interior decorating services, looking after the ill and infirm, two years ago she raised €17,000 to help buy a new bus for Friends of St Itas, a local nursing home”.
“On her 70th birthday, she walked the Mini Marathon in Dublin and raised €10,000. Her desire is to “leave her community in a better place than when I found it” and her lifelong ambition to help and support is remarkable.”
Josie was involved with Friends of St Ita’s from 2003 to last year and was also involved with Croagh Community Council.
The award ceremony in Dublin was a lively affair. “I met anyone and everyone,” Josie told the Limerick Leader. “It all went off fine.”
Businesswoman and former Dragon, Norah Casey, who chaired the judging panel commented: “The true heroes of our society are the mums who hold family and community together, who care for their loved ones, old and young, despite the enormous obstacles life throws at them.
“This year in particular we have seen phenomenal women lead the way in terms of Irish society, mums like Martina Cox who against insurmountable odds have shone through with courage and determination,” Ms Casey added. “The backbone of modern Ireland is the warrior mums who keep it all together and show the way for others to follow.”
The panel included campaigner Vicky Phelan.