Malahide Sea Scouts were honoured to have Olympic Sailing Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy along with the Chief Scout Christy McCann open their new State of the Art facility at St James’s Terrace in Malahide.
Amid a flotilla of Sail boats and Canoes the Olympian arrived by boat crewed by members of Malahide Scout Group to a tremendous welcome of members and friends of the Group who had gathered on the pier to greet her.
Annalise and Christy then jointly unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion and then proceeded on a tour of the facility.
Meanwhile Parents friend and past members assembled with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders for presentations in the main hall upstairs.
Introducing everyone Group Leader Colin Lynch related how honoured the group was to have a person of Annalise Murphy’s stature and reputation to open the Scout Den and he referred to her exploits in the London and Rio Olympics and the role model that she provides for young people.
Speaking to the assembled crowd Annalise related how she progressed up through the sailing ranks and the roles her coaches played in highlighting what she could achieve and she challenged all of the scouts present not to be satisfied with what they had already achieved but to look to what they might achieve.
The Chief Scout Christy McCann opened his address reminding the younger members that there was only thirty five sleeps to that big occasion. He recalled the amazing achievements that are associated with Malahide Sea Scouts and being the largest Sea Scout Group in Europe, that people long after they have left the Group, not only remember that they were a Sea Scout but that they were a Malahide Sea Scout. The Group caters for over five hundred young people aged from six to twenty one and has over one hundred and fifty adult volunteers who make it all possible.
Group Leader Colin Lynch then thanked all of local community groups who facilitated the Group when the den was closed and presented them with Thank You plaques, these included Deirdre Somers Commodore of Malahide Yacht Club, Peter O’Kelly Group Leader of Portmarnock Scouts, Mag’s O’Riordan on behalf of Malahide Community School and Michael Lynch on behalf of St Sylvester’s Parish Centre.
Last to speak was Cub Leader Niall Rock, the Leader who was nominated by the Group to project lead the refurbishment. Niall related the five years that it took to bring the project to fruition. It was from casual conversations amongst a few Leaders that led to the forming of the various committees that it took to bring the various strands of the project together. From concept to design, planning, funding, legal matters, contract negotiations and rehoming the Group while the construction took place, all took a huge amount of work by a large number of volunteers.
He outlined the necessity of the changes to the facility to comply with current best practice of working with young people. The quality of the finish in the changing rooms and shower facilities are on a par with any waters activities club. And the installation of a lift making the facility disabled friendly on both floors for the first time.
The whole process was five years in the making but he felt that the end result with just 12 months off site was a testament to the hard work put in by many members of the Group and their professional teams.
As he finished his presentation Niall was surprised by the Group Leader Colin Lynch and former Group leader Robert McKernan and he was bestowed with honorary life membership of Malahide Sea Scouts becoming only the sixteenth person to be awarded such an honourin over ninety years.
A final presentation was made by Bartek Mickiewicz from the 87Dublin Polish Scout Group of a Polish Sea Scout flag to be displayed in the den.
Formalities being over it was an opportunity for Parents and Friends to have some light refreshments and for the Scouts to get some selfies and autographs with Annalise and the Chief Scout.