My earliest recollection of the residents of St Raphael’s, is of a Sunday afternoon in the late fifties, hanging out with them outside the village chip shop after the pictures in the town hall. Other memories from that time
includes accompanying service user Peter Clerken along Tay Lane after school, when he was bringing the cattle from the bottom field (current sports field) back to the farm yard for milking.
In the late sixties and early Seventies, I got to know more of the lads when on occasion I would bring my brother Paul to school in St Raphael’s. In 1966 I started helping my dad preparing for the fete. I remember going to the
fruit and vegetable markets in Dublin with my dad, Ben McDonald and founding member Tom Lynham to collect fruit and vegetables for the veg stall. The Fete was a two-day affair back then. In the seventies my dad
recruited me as a bingo volunteer. I’m still trying to escape.
I first served on the Parents and Friends Association from 1979 for a short few years and continually since 1998, in 2009 I was elected chairperson. I am always amazed at the dedication and commitment of staff; they really
go that extra mile to ensure that the service users achieve their potential. I particularly enjoy my visits to the school, it’s a deeply humbling experience to witness the patience and love that the staff have for these little angles.
To witness the fantastic work that is done in the school or the units is a deeply satisfying and rewarding experience, it reinforces my will and commitment to carry on volunteering.