Offaly woman receives award for outstanding contribution to Offaly Hospice Foundation

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Offaly woman receives award for outstanding contribution to Offaly Hospice Foundation

Rita Tyrell pictured with Mary Kennedy

An Offaly resident has received recognition for her outstanding dedication to the the Offaly Hospice Foundation.

Edenderry woman Rita Tyrell received a ‘Sunflower Hero’ award from RTE’s Mary Kennedy for her outstanding dedication to the foundation.

Rita, who runs the well-known Fisherman’s Rest B&B in Edenderry, where she has lived all her life, has volunteered for the Offaly Hospice Foundation for over 20 years and was among 23 volunteers across the country honoured for their contribution to hospice care.

The presentation took place in the Mansion House Dublin at the national launch of Hospice Sunflower Days. This annual fundraiser for the hospice movement in Ireland is happening on Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10. It is hoped €1million will be raised this year.

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) coordinates the event on behalf of the hospice movement including the Offaly Hospice Foundation. All funds raised locally, stay locally.

An Offaly Hospice Foundation spokesperson said: “Rita is a loyal and dedicated supporter of everything Offaly Hospice does and stands for. Rita’s door is always open to everyone be it to drop in donations or to ask and look for advice with fundraising events. Rita’s dedication to the cause finds her driving to Tullamore at the drop of a hat to bring over donations left in to her such is her meticulous nature. She is a very approachable and friendly people person. You know the saying if you want something done ask a busy person, well Rita epitomises that.”

A national survey commissioned by the IHF revealed that 75% of Irish people want to die at home – however only one in four gets to do so. This is where Sunflower Days funds will help with the provision of hospice services in your area.

Speaking at the launch, Mary Kennedy said: “Hearing the heroes’ stories today was inspiring. The feeling of human kindness was tangible and their dedication uplifting. Without the commitment of these men and women, end of life would have been very different for many people and loved ones. I’m encouraging everyone to support Sunflower Days. By simply buying a sunflower from one of our volunteers you are helping to bring comfort and dignity to people at end of life.”

Pat Quinlan, Chief Executive Officer of Milford Care Centre and Chair of the Voluntary Hospices Group, continued: “People matter and Hospice Care improves the lives of many who have a life-limiting condition in allowing them to live their lives as fully as possible right up to the moment of death. Hospice care is also about supporting families and loved ones up to and through bereavement in what is clearly a most challenging period in their lives. Thousands of people receive hospice care annually and funds raised through Sunflower Days helps meet this growing need. Hospices therefore are more reliant than ever on the goodwill of wonderful supporters and volunteers."

“We are asking people to please support their local hospice service so that patients and families can get help at a time of greatest need.  Sunflower Days is a vital source of funding for local hospice services and every Euro received can make a difference so please donate or if you have a few hours to spare please consider volunteering for your local hospice on the day," he added. 

IHF Andy Caffrey, Acting CEO said volunteers are the iron will that keep local hospices going. “Local hospices fill a need in society. Their impact is immeasurable. Hospices rely on public goodwill to deliver their services. Hospice Sunflower Days is a countrywide opportunity to help your local group mind your community. We are very proud to be coordinating Hospice Sunflower Days for the past 27 years,” he said.

People can support Offaly Hospice service on June 9 and 10 by purchasing various pieces of Sunflower merchandise - including sunflower pins for €2 each from collectors on the streets of Offaly. 

For more information on how to volunteer with Offaly Hospice for Hospice Sunflower Days visit or ring Mary Murphy (0579328634).

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