Tragic N2 collision victim Josie Duff was posthumously awarded the Hospice Sunflower Hero award last week, at an event described as “very emotional” by her fellow Hospice volunteers.
Josie – who was a very well known figure around the town for her work with the Hospice and Irish Wheelchair Association – was honoured at the event at the Mansion House in Dublin, with her husband John and daughters Mary and Fiona in attendance.
She was killed, along with her cousin Kathy McDonald, in January of this year when the women disembarked a bus at Hunterstown and were hit by a vehicle crossing the road.
Each year, the Ardee Hospice Homecare committee can nominate a member to receive the Sunflower Hero award and in 2017, the committee unanimously decided to nominate Josie to receive a posthumous honour. At the launch of the national Hospice Sunflower Days, which take place next month, her family were only too honoured to be there in Josie’s name.
“Hail, rain or snow she would be there, always willing to help,” husband John said of his late wife. “I’m thrilled that someone is doing something, she was so good.” John received a plaque in Josie’s honour from RTE presenter and Hospice patron Mary Kennedy.
“It would be nice of us to spare a moment to remember with compassion and with sadness Josie Duff, who was a wonderful, wonderful, volunteer on behalf of the hospice in Ardee and who very tragically died with her cousin in a traffic accident in January,” Mary Kennedy said at the event.
So beloved was Josie locally, she had a room named after her in the Irish Wheelchair Association back in 2010.
“It is so, so nice and I do admire the courage of her family, her husband John and her daughters who have come here for Josie. I would just like to take our condolences at this time,” she continued. “It must have been a very difficult few months which we do acknowledge and are very, very grateful for you coming today and also for the wonderful work Josie did over the years.”
In nominating Josie for the award, the Hospice committee spoke of their “dear friend” and described her as a “tireless worker.” On the day, Josie was among 23 honourees who received Sunflower Hero awards.
“She is there from the beginning of the Ardee Hospice,” daughter Mary McKenna commented. “She was always helping out, any charity. It is such a pity she is not here to get it herself. It is a shame, it really is a shame. It is lovely for us to accept it.”
“It was a very emotional but lovely event for the family and also for the committee members who attended,” Una Woods told ThisIsArdee.ie. “The family and committee had photographs taken with Mary Kennedy who is the Ambassador for Hospice.”
Her posthumous award follows on from other recent recipients from Ardee Hospice. In 2015, founding member Miriam Clarke was honoured for her work spanning over two decades whilst last year Alicia McCabe was Ardee Hospice’s nominee.
This year, Hospice Sunflower Days take place on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th of June. All around Ardee, there will be sunflower sellers raising money. It is one of the movement’s biggest fundraisers annually and will look to raise in the region of €1 million nationally.
All of the funds raised locally will stay in the area. Money raised will go towards helping fund home help for those who need it, providing heating and equipment in homes that need it and paying for taxis to take people to hospital and other medical appointments.
For more information and to volunteer in the Ardee area, you can contact [email protected]