Bray’s own Dessie O’Toole, has been named Bray Person of the Year 2023 at the Bray Endeavour Awards, presented by Bray & District Chamber. The Awards, which included a range of presentations to Bray’s civic, community, Business, and youth of the town, were made at an awards ceremony in a sold-out Mermaid Arts Centre on Thursday 26th October.
In attendance were local dignities, TDs (Stephen Donnelly, Simon Harris, Jennifer Whitmore and John Brady), Cathaoirleach Melanie Corrigan, Bray Town Manager Lorraine Gallagher, Bray Town Administrator Garvan Hickey, Bray Municipal District Councillors Dermot O’Brien and Anne Ferris.
Thousands of nominations for this year’s Endeavour Awards were received by the Chamber from across the community following a two-month public awareness campaign during which members of the public were invited to nominate their civic, cultural, community and commercial winners.
The 2023 Bray & District Chamber of Commerce Endeavour Award winners are:
- Person of the Year: Ex-bus driver Dessie O’Toole has raised over €1 million for local charities, including Living Life, St Catherines Special School, The Wicklow Hospice, and many more. He has been involved in fundraising and the community for over 30 years.
- Lifetime Achievement: Eleanor Murphy: Eleanor has volunteered her time with the Bray Meals and Wheels and the Bray Old Folk Association for 47 years.
- Bray Business of the Year: Industrial Packaging was founded in 1947 and has been in business for 3 generations. It employs over 60 people in Bray and they support local charities, and initiatives every year.
- Customer Choice Customer Service Person Of the Year: Finalists were Christian Mulligan (PTSB), Derek Blount (Dockyard no8), Matthew Forde Connolly (NINE) Monika Bas(Dunnes) Paul Otoole (Harbour Bar) Rosemary Flanagan (Home Instead) and the winner voted on by the public was Monika Bas
- Customer Choice Hospitality Venue: Finalists were Daata Bray, Dockyard No. 8, La Piazza, Nine, Pink Salt and the public decided their winner was Dockyard No. 8
- Customer Choice Business of the Year: Finalists were AB Print, Downey’s Pharmacy, Fleurtique, Caremark, Republic of Bike and the winner with the highest number of votes was Fleurtique
- Special Recognition in Business awards were presented to Liz Anne’s Coffee Shop and Finnegans Bray for celebrating over 50 years in Business this year
- Community: Bray Youth Services was established in 1984 and provides youth information, and counselling services along with support services to voluntary youth groups. They also run the Seomra Youth Centre (a dedicated safe youth safe
- that offers drop-in sessions for young people, LGBTQ+ youth, etc).
- Civic Liam McGraynor has volunteered his time and been the heart and soul of Bray Emmets for a quarter of a century. From taking on key roles of every level and rank in the club, the unstinting and altruistic time and effort he has put into building the club to what it has become today.
- Sports Achievement (Team) St Peters FC Senior team for their remarkable achievement of the quadruple (The Jim McLoughlin Shield, The Charlie Bishop Cup, The Wicklow Cup and the League Championship. never achieved by a Bray team before.
- Sports Achievement (Individual) Aine O’Gorman, for her amazing football career a remarkable 119 caps for Ireland, her appearance in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup marked a milestone as she became the first active LOI player to wear the green shirt at a World Cup.
- Special Recognition Sports Award Richie Murphy led the U20s Irish Rugby team to a 6 Nations Championship for two consecutive years and brought the team to the U20s Rugby World Cup Final. The team won 8, drew one and lost only one game across the two tournaments.
In addition, Bray & District Chamber presented awards to mark the significant achievement of some of Bray’s Young Achievers, presenting awards to Major Minors Youth orchestra, Eva Salmon, Niall O’Callaghan, Sean Tyndall, Rhys Frawley, Scott Brien
YouthZone Bray podcast received the Social Media award which was presented to members Sean O’Brien, Sean O’Connell, Jake Peare and Aaron King.
Speaking at the Awards, Chamber President Sarah Finnegan paid tribute to all those who had been honoured in this year’s awards. “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the best of Bray and District for both businesses and the community. We are absolutely delighted with the success of this year’s awards and in particular with the superb reaction that each of our winners received, especially our Person of the Year Dessie O’Toole and Lifetime Achievement recipient Eleanor Murphy. These Awards are unique in that all recipients are nominated by the people of Bray, and there is no doubt, that this year’s winners are some of the most remarkable achievers in our community.”
“And of course, special thanks to our sponsors, Bray Municipal District, PTSB, AIB, Bray Credit Union, Alpha CC, Ballymore Group, Teddys Ice Cream, Metec, Royal Hotel and Merrill Leisure Centre, Condor Publishers, CommScope without their support, the event wouldn’t be possible”.