Sunday last marked a very special day in the history of the 19th/29th (St. Mary’s) Ballygunner Scout Group. The group held the official opening of it’s campsite in Kilcop, Woodstown, Co. Cork and they were blessed with beautiful sunny weather on the day. The group leader Neil O’Sullivan has a very strong Cork connection. He started his scouting days with the 21st Cork (Mayfield) where he came up through the various youth sections from the Macaoimh (Now Cub Scouts) right up to leadership. I also met up with Micheal Lehane from Wilton Gardens who is a former scout of the 42nd Cork (Ss. Peter & Paul’s) and now running the Venture scout group in Ballygunner. Also in attendance and involved with Ballygunner was Charlie Lapthorne formally from Cross Douglas Road and a scout of the 4th Cork and leader with the 37th Cork when they were both in St. Peter and Paul’s Parish). Charlie is very involved with their finance committee.
The land for the campsite was kindly donated to the scout group by Alice Walsh and Nora Doran in memory of their late mother Mary Walsh. Both Alice and Nora received the Scouting Ireland Community Award in recognition of their significant contribution to scouting. This site is and will be used for generations to come by all programme sections in Ballygunner and indeed groups from within and outside the County.
At the opening ceremony, five year service awards were presented to Kate Hayes, Adrienne Kane, Angela Carey and Fiona McAvinue. Robert Parsons received the bronze honour award which is quite a rare award in Scouting Ireland. It was presented for saving the life of his mother when she collapsed and stopped breathing. Robert rang the emergency services and immediately started CPR which he had learned in scouting. Eamonn Doran was presented with Scouting Ireland’s highest honour the Cú Chulainn award.
Many of the scouts were also invested on the campsite on the Saturday night where they had been camping for the weekend. Special thanks must go to a great bunch of people both within and outside the group. These include youth members, leaders present and past, Group Council present and past, Parents and families along with Parents & Friends Group for planning and running the official opening event.
Also mentioned for special thanks were Fr. Tom Rogers, De La Salle Scout Pipe Band, Civil Defence, Irish Coast Guard and the County Commissioner, Alison Parle and her team and County Group Leaders and representatives.
Neil O’Sullivan said they were honoured with the presence of the Mayor, John Cummins who was a former scout, Chief Scout Christy McCann (on his first visit to Waterford as Chief Scout), Kiernan Gildea, Honorary Vice President, Kevin Murphy Provincial Commissioner along with Dave Barry and Pat Bradley from the 37th Cork.
A great day was had by all and finished off well with a fine spread of cakes and sandwiches.