Paddy Duffy awarded an MBE for outstanding volunteer work over 50 years

Paddy Duffy MBEPaddy Duffy MBE
Paddy Duffy MBE
​The unique contribution of Newry man Paddy Duffy to the Voluntary sector over the past half century has been formally recognised with the awarding of an MBE in the recent Honours List.

The citation stated it was givenfor his service to Special Olympic sport and to young people, particularly those with disabilities in Newry and district.

The acclaim comes less than six months after he was made the local district council’s Lifetime Service to Sport award as a volunteer.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Paddy stated he was surprised and flattered with the news, and that it was particularly fitting that it came just after Volunteer Week in Northern Ireland. He dedicated the award to the countless Volunteers whom he had been involved with over the past 50 plus years involving St John Bosco Youth Club, Irish Pilgrimage Trust, Special Olympics Ireland, Bessbrook United Football Club and especially his many friends , past and present’ from the Newry Gateway Club which remains a huge part of his life.

Paddy, who lives at the Old Warrenpoint Road, has been involved with Special Olympics Ireland for many years as a Volunteer. In his Role as a Youth Leader with Newry & District Gateway, he started a Special Olympics Soccer Team in the mid Nineties and they competed in various competitions in Northern Ireland, taking part in the National Games in 2001. He was elected to the Role of Hon. Secretary to Special Olympics Northern Ireland in 1999 and acted as assistant Head of Delegation for Northern Ireland Team at the 2001 national games in Dublin. On the lead up to the World games which were held in Dublin in 2003, Paddy Duffy played an active role representing Northern Ireland on the Special Olympics Ireland Management Committee.

Since those Games he has continuously played an active Role as a Volunteer with Special Olympics right up to the present time and has volunteered at 6 World games in places like China, Greece, Los Angeles, Austria, Abu Dhabi and at the first ever World Games held in Dublin in 2003. Paddy was elected as Host Town Chairman for the 2003 World Games when Newry hosted Team Iceland for 5 days prior to the Team traveling to Dublin.

He played a vital role in helping to set up local Special Olympics Clubs in his area which led to many local athletes becoming involved and eventually taking part in various local and national games including the World games since 2007 and including Berlin last summer with some returning as medal winners.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Over this period he has organised and assisted many charity groups to raise funds with 5K and 10K events and also half- marathons, triathlons and spin-a -thons.

Welcoming the award, founder member and long serving Gateway chairman Willie Mc Givern stated that over the past fifty years whether as helper, public retentions officer, leader or for ten years chairman and now trustee, Paddy was simply a superb leader.

“From the day and hour that Paddy Duffy became involved in the Gateway Club he was and remains totally passionate and efficient in every respect and is an inspiration to all associated with this great Institution."

Canon Francis Brown, Parish Priest of Newry said he had known Paddy Duffy since the latter’s young days as a youth leader with the Bosco back in 1974, and that his support and leadership was always outstanding."For over fifty years he freely gave of his time, and gave it with a smile. For twenty years he was a volunteer with the annual Lourdes Pilgrimage. Many generations of young people notably those with additional needs have benefited from his generosity.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Paddy asserted that his wife Jacinta provided a wonderful on-going support with her invaluable assistance in so many ways throughout his voluntary service journey. The couple have three sons and two grandchildren.