Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia, and his wife Lady Lynne Cosgrove spent Saturday, 23rd September 2017 with representatives from the Irish Men’s Shed in Balbriggan along with our Balbriggan/North Dublin Volunteer Branch Chair Tom O’ Neil.
The Men’s Shed concept originated in Australia and according to Sir Peter, who is patron of the Australian Men’s Shed movement, the growth of clubs across Ireland is vital to improve mental health standards in the country.
“It’s vital to identify that men, particularly in their middle years and onwards, can often find themselves searching for a sense of community and purpose,” Sir Peter said. “This provides exactly to those needs and offers a sense of fellowship, involvement and the opportunity to produce things which are beautiful and useful”.
Tom O’Neill a while earlier had approached the local Men’s Shed team with the idea of making use of the small model dog which had been rescued from old worn collection boxes. The Balbriggan Mens Shed decided to take Tom’s idea and to use them to create small dog plaques.
Some beautiful wood was donated to the project and they then set about creating the plaques.
Tom got the opportunity to present one of them to Sir Peter and his wife Lynne at their visit to the Men’s Shed in balbriggan.
Sir Peter asked Tom about his Guide Dog Gatsby and what it means to him to have one. Never short of a word Tom told him “that the freedom and mobility he gets from his Guide Dog cannot be quantified in monetary terms and that nobody can put a price on independence he enjoys as a result.”
Lady Lynne Cosgrove said “that she would call the model Guide Dog Gatsby after Tom’s” pictured with her and her husband.
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