LADY Geraldine Dunraven has said her family is “thrilled” to have their name attached to a state-of-the-art centre opened by the Irish Wheelchair Association in Roxboro.
The €500,000 Dunraven Centre was officially opened at the Limerick Enterprise Development Park on Friday by American philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman, a long-time friend of the Dunravens who with her late husband Lewis has contributed millions to deserving causes in the Limerick region since the 1980s.
Named in honour of Lord Dunraven, who passed away four years ago, the centre has been completed with the generous support of the American Ireland Funds, of which Ms Brennan Glucksman is a former chairman, and the JP McManus Foundation.
Lord Dunraven, who passed away four years ago, spent much of his life in a wheelchair having contracted polio as a teenager. But he had never let that setback prevent him from leading a full life, Lady Geraldine said.
“Thady’s life was not lived with a handicap. It was lived with merriment, with laughter, with family and with friends. And that is the legacy which he has left me with, which he has left (daughter) Anna and his two sisters and the rest of his family.
“And it is that legacy, which is not dis-ability but an ability to go forward, to laugh and also to be helped by the organisation of which he became the first patron.”
Lord Dunraven had also served as president of the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) from 1971 to 1991, a position from which CEO Kathleen McLoughlin said he had tirelessly lobbied successive ministers for health.
Having brought the project to fruition, the IWA was actively seeking to expand the range of services it offers to its members in the Mid-West. These already include day services, a range of educational and recreational activities, arranging excursions and holidays and the important assisted living service through which IWA staff support people with reduced mobility in living independent, active and full lives.
The Dunraven Centre has 25 staff working alongside members and volunteers on a daily basis, four accessible buses on the road seven days a week and over 60 members participating it its range of programmes during the day, evenings and on weekends.
Ms McLoughlin thanked “the JP McManus Charitable Foundation, Loretta Brennan Glucksman and other supporters who through their generosity made this project possible”.