Margo Duffy Community Hero November 2015
This month we have Margo Duffy as our highlighted community hero. Margo formerly from Portlaoise and now living in Cappry, Ballybofey since 1994 is a member of the local Ballybofey & Stranorlar Women’s Group and has a lifetime involvement in community both in her native
Margo moved to the area when she married her husband John in 1994. The couple who both have a great love of sport have instilled this in their two teenage children, Muirinn and Sean who both have a keen interest in sports, Muirinn takes part in athletics competing with FVAC and Sean is a keen soccer & GAA player.
Margo began working for the P & T as a telephonist in March 1980 and then moved to An Post in 1983. She worked in Letterkenny initially and then moved to the Ballybofey area afterwards, becoming the first postwoman in both towns at the time. This is her 35th year with An Post, a job which she enjoys and is extremely good at, always taking time to have a word with all who meet her.
Coming from what she terms as a “sports mad family” of three brothers and Margo herself, it’s no surprise that she was immersed in sports from a very young age and she took part in lots of outdoor activities such as walking, mountain climbing, cycling, GAA regularly. Today her main sporting interests would be rugby, GAA and athletics. It was through her love of sport that she initially became involved in helping her community running many marathons for her local community centre in Portlaoise. Moving to Donegal Margo also ran the Dublin City Marathon in 2000 for the Donegal Hospice raising €1050. The same year she also ran the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon as part of the Ballybofey & Stranorlar Women’s Group contingent who take part every year in this great event.
Margo’s earliest involvement in community work in the Twin Towns happened when she joined the women’s group in 1998 as an attending member initially to meet people socially within the community. Her talents were soon recognised and she became a committee member following on then to the role of assistant treasurer of the group in 2000. In the following years she also took on the roles of treasurer, PRO and assistant secretary and is presently the group secretary.
As a member of the women’s group Margo has taken part in many activities such as the Mental Health first aid course which ran for over a year one night per week and some weekends. This demanded strong time management skills as anyone who has completed further study will know that raising a family, working full time and completing a course does not leave much down time. Over the years she also took part in several computer courses both on a cross border basis and locally. She is currently taking part in an art course which involves painting still life and charcoal drawings. Through the women’s group Margo has also taken part in drama courses over a number of years which were set up with the intention of getting women involved in drama in the locality. She has also used her experience from her days in the Tops of the Town as well as her time in the Target Theatre, both while she lived in Portlaoise and has taken part in the Sound of Music and other productions. She has brought this experience to the Women’s Group play which the group runs every year as part of a fundraising night for a local charity.
In the past Kieran Quinn and presently Caroline Bell have written and produced plays for the group. There is approximately 12 women treading the boards this year in what promises to be a hilarious play. Margo will play the part of Louise a happy go lucky lady who enjoys a bit of craic in this year’s play entitled “What goes on holidays stays on holidays which they will debut on Friday 13th November as part of their fundraising variety concert and also in Glenfinn Hall on the 11th of December. To date the women’s group has raised €25,000 for local charities over the past 20 years. The group have also visited Stormont, the Dail, and taken part in many cross border activities and Margo credits this group as a lifeline for her which has helped her to connect with people in the area.
This year the group will celebrate their 20th Anniversary Celebrations on the 20th of November and
Margo, as part of the organising committee has been tasked with cataloguing the group’s history which has involved approximately 250 women over the 20 years.
The 20th anniversary preparation are now in full swing with representatives from other women’s groups around the county invited as well as other local community groups within the town. A percentage of the money raised on the night will go towards the Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Charity who help and provide support to many women in need.
Charities that the B & S Women’s group have helped over the years include St. Vincent De Paul, Cunamh, Simon community, Motor Neuron Disease, Good and New Cancer Bus, Alzheimer’s, Daffodil Day, Mammy I want to walk, People in Need, Omagh Fund, Donegal Hospice, T.T. Playgroup, Air India Disaster, Arthritis Foundation, Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence, Special Olympics, Irish Heart Foundation, Little Angels, T.T. Community Platform, Letterkenny Women’s Centre. This group is to be commended for all the great work it has done and continues to do for so many.
Congratulations Margo on your many achievements and particularly in the
time that you have given to your community. They say “if you want something done, ask a busy person”, when it comes to Margo this is very definitely the case.
Go to other community Heroes