The excitement is becoming intense and the days are getting closer to the biggest night of the year in the Annual Calendar of The Donegal Association in Dublin. Yes, it’s that time of year again when the Donegal Person of the Year 2011 will be presented with this prestigious Award in The Regency Hotel, Whitehall, Dublin. This year will be an historical year because for the first time ever a joint award will be made and it is shared between World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, Anne Marie Ward and Raphoe born, New Zealand based businessman, Hugh Green.
The Gala Ball and Award night will be held in The Regency Hotel on Saturday 3rd March next. It certainly will be a night to remember but make sure that you book your tickets as early as you can.
Anne Marie Ward was born in Port na Blagh but now resides in Creeslough. A nurse by profession, she is employed by the HSE as a Disability Service Manager. One of our Super Sportspersons, not alone did she swim the English Channel but in 2010 she was the first woman ever to swim the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland. A World Record! She was part of the team who completed the ‘Round Ireland Swim’ in 2006. When she swam from Tory island to Maheraroarty she raised e20,000 for charity but her biggest challenge will take place next Summer when she will be part of a relay of international swimmers to swim the 87 km of The Bering Strait. For that the swimmers will fly to the USA, from there to Alaska and finally sail to Siberia. A few days later they swim back to Alaska. To date she has raised over e100,000 for Charity. Last year she was named World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year. If there was an Open Water Swimming event for women in The Olympic Games, Ann Marie would be favourite to win the gold medal.
Hugh Green was born in Raphoe and at the age of 20 emigrated to New Zealand via Australia. With his friend Barney Mc Cahill he set up the very successful Green and Mc Cahill Contractors. They went their separate ways in the 1980’s but Hugh Green continued to expand his business interests. Although he received very little formal education he possessed a very keen intellect and business acumen. This helped him to become one of the largest building contractors in New Zealand. His other businesses include land and property development, farming and trading in livestock, oil and gas exploration and shrewd investments in the stockmarket. Hugh Green has given away millions of dollars to charity, including e200,000 to Letterkenny Hospital and to other projects in Donegal. In 2006 The National University of Ireland (NUIG) honoured his Lifetime Achievments with a Doctorate of Laws. Tickets for the ball are priced at e60 each and may be purchased from the website: www.donegalassociation.ie.
For a comprehensive preview on the big night don’t miss next Tuesday’s Donegal Democrat and Donegal People’s Press for our very spcial coverage of this Donegal night in Dublin.