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22/09/2021

Incredible Offaly Garda and photographer among Ireland's 'Inspirational Heroes'

Incredible Offaly Garda and photographer among Ireland's 'Inspirational Heroes'

Incredible Offaly Garda and photographer among Ireland's 'Inspirational Heroes'

An Offaly Garda and photographer have been recognised as Inspirational Heroes for 2020.

Following a nationwide search to uncover Ireland’s most inspirational people, Banagher native Garda Stacey Looby and Paula Nolan from Killeigh are both celebrating after being named an Inspirational Hero in the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards for 2020.

Stacey picked up the award for Meath while Paula was the Offaly winner.

Stacey is a Comunity Garda based in Navan in Meath and congratulations were extended from her colleagues in Offaly. She was nominated for her hard work, dedication and positivity during the Covid-19 Pandemic this year.

Her amazing efforts focused on the elderly, from arranging shopping and collecting medicines, to surprising those cocooning alone with birthdays to remember.

She was also behind an appeal for children to make Easter cards for those in nursing homes. Originally hoping for around 100 cards, she received over 500.

More recently Stacey organised a Go Purple Day to raise funds and awareness for domestic violence, and has just completed a fundraiser for the Sean Cox appeal, raising over €6,000.

Nominated by family and friends for the Inspiration Award, photographer Paula Nolan stood out for her dedication and selfless hard work.

Over the years Paula has run four marathons raising thousands for charity and has been instrumental in setting up a sensory room at Killeigh School. During the lockdown, Paula took her camera and shot photos of over 70 families on their doorstep, donating all the proceeds from this project to Killeigh Community Centre. Of herself, Paula says, "I don’t measure what I do. I just like to help people if I can."

Gary Desmond CEO of Gala Retail said that Inspirational people from across Ireland were nominated for the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards, with 26 inspirational county heroes being named from the hundreds of entries received. Each of the 26 award-winning heroes demonstrated how they have made Ireland a better place with their selfless acts and inspirational deeds during the Covid-19 crisis, and how they have gone above and beyond for others in their local community.

"2020 has been hugely difficult for everyone however, it has also demonstrated the immense community spirit that exists within Irish communities. Operating in communities throughout Ireland, Gala Retailers have seen first-hand some of the great work that people have been doing and we are proud to have been able to recognise some of these inspirational individuals. We were overwhelmed by the level of nominations we received and Stacey along with the fellow inspirational heroes are true examples of people who are making Ireland a better place for us all.”

2020 marks the second year of the Gala Retail Inspiration Awards created as a way of celebrating the selfless acts and inspirational deeds of people in Ireland who are making the country a better place.

Gala Retail has gifted €20,000 of prizes to the winners, with 26 county winners being awarded with luxury stays in some of Ireland’s most beautiful Blue Book properties.

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