One of the social highlights of the year for the Donegal Disapora in London with one of the most successful Donegal Association of London events taking place at the weekend.
The night also saw their annual person of the year award go to a very worthy winner.
Letterkenny woman Teresa Gallagher was awarded the London Donegal person of the year at Saturdays nights Donegal Association London’s annual dinner dance a the Crown Moran Hotel.
The night was highly successful event is a hugely popular with the large Donegal Community in the London and across the UK.
This year drew 320 people to the event
The award winner Teresa was joined at the event by husband Jarleth, her niece and nephew Alannah and Pol Gallagher.
After an early career in teaching Teresa move to London for postgraduate study and went on to found the charity called Immigrant Councilling and Psychotherapy, better known as ICAP.
She recognised a need to promote mental health and establish a therapy service which was accessible, independent, non-sectarian, non-denominational, confidential and available to all who wished to use its expertise, and she meet many challenges along the way.
A lack of awareness within British statutory and funding bodies initially made the raising of funding almost impossible.
But with sheer vision, focus and determination they embarked on a process of lobbying and meeting with relevant bodies breaking down barriers and getting the needs of the Irish addressed.
A Board of Directors was formed and gradually they gained the generous support of highly-qualified psychotherapists and volunteers.
Premises in London were obtained in which a welcoming place was created, where people could feel safe to off-load their feelings and troubles and begin to re-build their lives.
People contributed what they could afford, be it one pound or twenty, and various contracts and partnerships began to develop.
The organisation grew to a point where it was finally able to become registered as a limited company with charitable status.
In 1996 and was officially opened by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese,
Today they have a network of over 200 therapists and provide 14,000 therapy sessions each year.
Before being presented her award by Chairman of the Association, Tony McFadden she was described as a “very wonderful, unassuming, talented and truly amazing person” who has made an outstanding contribution to the Irish in Britain.
Neil Gallagher and Karl Lacey joined guests for the evening, as did the Dublin Donegal Association and the Kerry Donegal Association.
Carrigart photographer Brendan Vaughan also launched his 2015 charity calendar.
Brendan has created colourful calendars in recent years and all the proceeds raise toward the Donegal Hospice.
The calender is now available through the association and many local outlets.