"I was gobsmacked and pleased to get the phone call from The Nationalist,", said Sharon Parker Byrne, this month's winner of our Local Hero award. "I don't do this to get awards or recognition; I do it because I love my community".
Anyone who is familiar with Carlow town centre will probably know Sharon. She's a resident in the New Oak housing estate and has been involved in its community centre for the past 9 years. Since 2006, she's been chairman of the centre and has been effectively running it on a voluntary basis. It could be a full time job with the amount of activity that takes place within the centre's walls and Sharon is keen to point out that none of the activities and programmes could happen without the team of volunteers attached to the centre.
Walking through the New Oak estate, she points out the various green areas and corners that have been transformed into gardens. She's keen to stress that it's one of the oldest council estates in the county at "almost 40 years' old" and there's more than 180 houses there. "New Oak is a community where people talk out for each other," she smiles, as we walk through the estate. "We're aware of who's living alone and we keep an eye on them. If necessary, we'll make an excuse to call in. You have your privacy to, but when you need help, you'll get it."
"As I said, I don't do this for awards and recognition," she concludes. "It's nice to do something good and see it completed. And when you see hoe pleased people are and they're smiling, that's like a day's wages to me."
Download our Carlow's Local Heroes Nomination Form here or see Carlow Nationalist every Tuesday!
Submit your form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Carlow's Local Heroes, The Nationalist, Hanover House, Hanover, Co. Carlow, Tel: 087 9423741