Local Hearts for Local Heroes

By Mary Dennehy

THE talent, thoughtfulness and gratitude alive within the community’s younger generation shone through in a creative competition that said ‘thanks’ with art.

Called Local Hearts for Local Heroes, the competition was open to all children 16 years and under living in Tallaght and its surrounding communities of South Dublin.

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First prize winners of the Local Hearts for Local Heroes Tallaght Art competition, Sean Bermingham, Aoibhinn Healy, Eabha Ryder and Caoimhe Lee with Tara De Buitléar (TCC), Lee Moroney (TPOTY), Thomas Carroll (AWS) and Brendan Cannon (AWS)

The art competition was a chance for children and young people to creatively say ‘thank you’ to their unsung hero, which could, for example, be a mam, dad, brother, sister, neighbour, essential worker or nurses in the local hospital.

The idea for the competition originated from Old Bawn Community School (OBCS) art teacher Mairead Ryan, who inspired The Echo, Amazon Web Services, Tallaght Community Council, Keeco Creative and Tallaght University Hospital Foundation to partner together on a community-wide Local Hearts for Local Heroes project.

After receiving dozens of inspiring art pieces, judges had the very difficult task of selecting winners across four categories.

Caoimhe Lee (14), from Lucan, was awarded first place in the 14 to 16 age category, and was presented with an Acer Travelmate laptop.

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Caoimhe Lee (1st prize 14-16yrs) with Brendan Cannon (AWS)

A student of St Joseph’s College, Caoimhe dedicated her Local Heart drawing to the doctors and nurses caring for those ill with coronavirus, and used a blue gloved hand to represent those on the frontline.

Speaking with The Echo about her striking image of gratitude, Caoimhe said: “I got the idea from the bond between doctors and their patients and all of the doctors and nurses working to care for people with coronavirus.

“They are all doing a really good job while putting their lives on the line, which is incredible.”

Caoimhe added: “My mam encouraged me to enter the [Local Hearts] competition.

“I’ve always liked art and art class, and drawing is mainly my forte.”

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Sean Bermingham (1st prize winner 10-13yrs)

Seán Birmingham, who lives in Marlfield, Kiltipper, and is a 5th class pupil at Devine Word NS in Marley Grange, scooped the first place prize of a bike from Halford’s in the 11 to 13 age group.

The 12-year-old dedic-ated his heart to his teacher, Ms Hynes.

“My heart is for my teacher Ms Hynes,” Seán told The Echo.

“I drew her as a superhero.

“She’s been amazing since lockdown started.

“Besides work, she’s sent us riddles, puzzles and fun art projects.

“She was always available to offer help and advice while also looking after her own son.”

He added: “She is so thoughtful.

“She organised to send some iPads from the school to the hospice in Harold’s Cross, so patients were able to see and stay in contact with their families.

“She is also great craic and did the ice bucket challenge after the whole class nominated her.”

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Eabha Ryder (1st prize winner 7-10yrs) with Tara De Buitléar

Éabha Ryder, from Kingswood, won first place in the seven- to 10-year-old category for her colourful design, which thanked frontline workers, her granny and grandad, her mam and dad, friends and the postman.

Her detailed drawing also includes colourful portraits of former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins, and a drawing of her school St Kilian’s.

Delighted to have been awarded first place and to have won a Playstation 4 and Spiderman game, Éabha said: “My drawing is for all of the doctors and nurses helping everybody with coronavirus and also for all of the grannies and grandad because we have to take care of them.”

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Aoibhinn Healy (1st prize winner under 7 yrs)

Aoibhinn Healy (6) from Lucan was chosen as the winner of the under 7s category and won a €100 Smyths voucher for her Local Heart, which comprises of more than 90 hearts for her daddy.

“I drew my hearts for my daddy,” Aoibhinn said.

“I love him lots and he takes me to the park to play football every day.”

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Jayden Cooke with his local hero Liam Bowes, Emergency Medical Dispatcher with the National Ambulance Service

Aoibhinn’s mam Nina told The Echo how during lockdown her daughter has spent most of her time drawing hearts, so when her Nan spotted the competition in The Echo, she passed an entry form onto her Gaelscoil Esker Riada granddaughter.

Emma Kennedy, Managing Director of The Echo, congratulated everyone who designed and dedicated a Local Heart.

“The judges had a very difficult job selecting winners in each category, it took a very long time,” Ms Kennedy said.

“Every single entry we received was amazing.

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2-year-old Abigail Higgins (3rd prize winner under 7yrs)

“We were so impressed at how thoughtful and talented all of the children and young people who entered are.

“All of the entrants put so much effort into thanking their Local Hero, and it was very inspiring, heart-warming and lots of fun going through all of the art pieces.

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Brendan Cannon (AWS), Tara De Buitléar (TCC), Brenda Mockler (The Echo), Lee Moroney (Tallaght Person of The Year 2019), Aisling Finn (The Echo) and Thomas Carroll (AWS)

“The Echo and all of the competition partners would like to thank each and every one of the entrants for celebrating the very special community we live in and the very special people who live and work here.”

Earlier this week, the winning entrants received their prizes in a socially distant event in the Civic theatre, which also included a second and third place prize in each of the four categories.

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