IT was the end of an era at the Holy Family Young at Heart Club in Muirhevnamor on Wednesday afternoon when local woman May Cumiskey retired from the committee after 18 years.
May, who ran the club for many years while filling a variety of positions including treasurer and secretary, received a surprise party from club members to acknowledge her outstanding contribution to the group for the best part of two decades.
The mother of three’s daughter Denise and son Niall was even there to share in the celebrations as a shocked May was moved to tears.
“I got an awful surprise,” she told The Dundalk Democrat.
“It’s very unexpected.”
May was first attracted to join the group by the late Sister Ita and she says it was one of the best decisions she ever made.
“I’ve met some great people through this club over the years and I’ve made a lot of good friends from it. I’ve seen a lot of changes too.
“There have been so many highlights. I particularly enjoyed all the outings we used to go on to the likes of the Dáil and Dublin Castle. They were good days but we had some brilliant nights too,” she laughed.
“The club is 25 or 26 years going now and it’s a great social thing. Although we’re based here in the Holy Family parish we have members from all over town,” she said.
The task of filling May’s sizeable shoes has gone to another Muirhevnamor woman, Anne Morrisey, who said: “I don’t know how I’m going to follow in her footsteps but I’ll try.”
Indeed, there were plenty of May’s friends only too happy to pay tribute to what they called a “great woman.”
Bridie O’Byrne described May as “a wonderful person who organised everything for us” while Bridgie Duffy said “you couldn’t find a nicer person.”
Annie Belton, who made a speech at the surprise gathering said: “May has been running the club for 18 years and I’m sure everyone would agree that she has been a great organiser.
“Only for May we’d have no club,” she said.
Also full of praise for May was Mary Macklin, who said: “May is so sincere and down to earth. She gave so much to us and this club and we will miss her.”
May is hoping she won’t become a stranger though and it will be no surprise if she still attends some of the club’s weekly meetings each Wednesday from 2.30pm to 4pm.
“I will pop in and out the odd time and if they’re stuck for anything they know they can call on me,” she said.