Members of the South East region of the Association of Irish Riding Clubs said a fond and tearfaul farewell to outgoing secretary Helen O’ Byrne at the regions Annual General Meeting recently. Helen has been a member since the year dot and while no one can pin point a particular year, she’s been secretary of the South East region since the late 1980s.
In those days meetings were held in a pub or guest house at the top of New Ross on the Waterford side of the river. They were most convivial meetings, with a lot of chat and probably a sneaky beverage, or two… and legend has it that Helen was handed a pen and pad and said “You’re a teacher, you take notes” and that is how she ended up as secretary.
As well as being secretary of the region, she is also secretary of Waterford Riding Club and has achieved the following awards during her loyal and faithful service to the organsiation:
- 2017, Club Secretary of the Year, AIRC Lancelot Awards
- 2016, Gold Service Award, AIRC
- 2011, Person of the Year, AIRC Lancelot Awards
Over the years her work and dedication to the riding club movement shone through, she has been found mud deep marking fences, picking poles and riders up off the floor and was always at the end of the phone for advice, which usually ended up being an hour long chat.
During her time as secretary she has also competed successfully and has probably handed out more rosettes than there are members of the AIRC and while we’ll miss her minute taking we hope to see her back competing very soon.
Jimme Quirke, who has taken over as Secretary, made the presentation to Helen on the night.
(Image & Report: Lisa Connolly)