Marion Mattimoe pictured with her award. PHOTO: MICHAEL McLAUGHLIN

Mayo woman named as Ireland’s Inspirational Hero of the Year

Following a nationwide search to uncover Ireland’s most inspirational people, Ballina woman Marion Mattimoe is celebrating after being named Overall Inspirational Hero of the Year in the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards.

Established to shine a light on those individuals who make Ireland a better place with their selfless acts and inspirational deeds, Marion has been involved with many community groups over the years.

They include Ballina Community Games, Ballina Town FC, Ballina Swimming Club, Ballina GAA Club, Moy Valley Athletic Club and St. Vincent De Paul.

She out to the judges for her long serving and dedicated work within the community.

In 2004, Marion set up the Ballina branch of the GOAL mile, an event held throughout December, that sees tens of thousands of people run or walk a mile to raise funds for Irish humanitarian aid agency GOAL.

A mother of five, Marion has been the driving force behind the event for the past 17 years, helping to raise over €47,000.

Marion stated: “I am truly humbled to have been nominated in the Gala Retail Inspiration Awards, but to then be named as Ireland’s Overall Inspirational Person of the Year is just overwhelming.

“I do what I do, not for recognition, but because I love to give back and help others, so I feel this award isn’t really about me. It is to all those in the community, those who work alongside me and give up their time and generosity to help others.

“I’d like to thank Virgin Media and Gala, and especially my local stores - Tuffy’s Gala, Murphy’s Gala, Mangans Gala, McGloin’s Gala and all the other Gala retailers in Mayo.

“I’m incredibly grateful to my local Gala stores who share in the spirit of helping our local community, and would like to thank them, and those who nominated me for this award, which I’m accepting on behalf of the many people in our county that help others each and every day.”