The winners of the 2019 Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards have been revealed at a special ceremony celebrating their incredible courage, generosity and acts of kindness, and three Wexford people are among those honoured.
The star-studded event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin was hosted by broadcaster Mary Kennedy on Monday. She commented: “It’s a privilege to be part of this wonderful tribute to human goodness.”
The Wexford winners were Patrick Furlong, New Ross, Sarah Kavanagh, Enniscorthy and Mary Walsh, Askamore, and all three received special certificates from well-known radio and television personalities.
Hidden Hearing, the leading healthcare brand that spearheaded the introduction of hearing tests to the high street, created the Awards in 2011 to honour ordinary people who do extraordinary things and they have grown in popularity year on year.
Managing Director Stephen Leddy noted that it was a “humbling” experience reading the hundreds of nominations from all across Ireland.
“The Hidden Hearing brand alone cannot create heroes — we rely on real life stories and once again, we were overwhelmed by the huge response from the public,” he declared.
The Awards have ten different categories with an Overall Winner and Special Recognition winner in each one. PATRICK FURLONG. A native of New Ross, Patrick Furlong was honoured with a Special Recognition award in the Sports Hero category. Patrick is a dedicated and long-serving sports coach for Ireland’s para-athletes. He has clocked up thousands of miles and spent thousands of hours volunteering to promote the sport and expand the para-athletic talent pool across Ireland.
MARY WALSH is a grandmother from Askamore and the winner of a Special Recognition Award in the Age No Barrier category. A full-time carer until she underwent a quadruple bypass three years ago, Mary (68) has always put others first. She still visits one of her former clients, none other than Ed Sheeran’s grandmother Anne! Mary has spent the last few months nursing her husband Willie back to health following a heart attack. Nominated by her daughter Ashling, Mary is also a devoted fundraiser for local charities and helps care for her granddaughter Amber.
SARAH KAVANAGH from Enniscorthy, won the Special Recognition award in the Healthcare Hero category. She works with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. Sarah was nominated by local woman Roisin Fortune, whose brain was damaged after surgery to remove a tumour. “Only for Sarah and the team, I would not be here today,” she explains. “She goes above and beyond to help people as they try to adapt to a new way of life. Sarah is only ever a phone call away whenever assistance or advice is needed.”
Celebrities in attendance at the Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards included broadcaster Marty Morrissey, Lottery presenter Nuala Carey, author Cathy Kelly, Morning Ireland’s Bryan Dobson, rugby legend Tony Ward and ex- Fair City star Jenny Dixon.
The Awards also saw Hidden Hearing donate €2,000 to charity Hugh’s House, a sanctuary in Dublin offering free accommodation to parents from outside the capital with ill babies in Temple St, Holles St and the Rotunda hospitals.