Blarney’s Kate Durrant, winner of Ireland’s Most Inspirational Person award, has been named April's Cork Person of the Month. She is pictured here with her dog Hugo. (Photo: Dan Lenihan/Irish Examiner)

Kate Durrant was named ‘Ireland’s Most Inspirational Person’ last year, and has now been named as Cork Person of the Month for April 2020.

A busy community activist, not just in Cork, but throughout Ireland, he is involved in St Vincent de Paul (SVP), Dogs for the Disabled, Blarney Community First Responders, Pieta House and her local Tidy Towns group, all in leadership roles.

The SVP conference she co-founded, and is president of, assists up to 200 families per week and more than 2,500 families at Christmas suffering from food poverty. 

Kate is also involved with providing support for families of asylum seekers living in direct provision.

‘I win the lottery every single day’!

Kate was only too happy to try to help during the recent Covid-19 crisis. She took a lead role in the local Community Response Forum team of volunteers which has been working seven days a week with Cork City Council to provide hot meals, vital groceries, medicine, fuel deliveries and social care supports to their most vulnerable and most cherished citizens.

“I’ve a very good group of friends and we’re not taking on problems, we’re involved in solutions,” said Kate. “I’ve a roof over my head and a full fridge, so I win the lottery every single day I wake up.”

A committed volunteer and puppy socialiser with Irish Dogs for Disabled, Kate is a regular visitor to the Mercy University Hospital with Hugo, a fully trained therapy dog.

In 2015, alongside her friend Deborah Lynch, she co-founded Blarney Community First Responders which has since provided 24 hour a day, year-round cover in Blarney and surrounding areas to anyone suffering a cardiac incident or stroke.

The following year Kate was part of the team that brought the Pieta House Darkness into Light walk to Blarney. This walk has raised over €100,000 to date for Pieta House, which provides essential local mental-health support services.

She is a member of her local school’s board of management team, treasurer and secretary of the local Tidy Towns group, amongst other local organisations.

At the Gala Retail Inspiration Awards last November, the judging panel described her as a true community champion who works tirelessly to make a difference in her hometown of Blarney. Kate Durrant was presented with the overall national ‘Ireland’s Most Inspirational Person’ award by former Ireland International footballer Niall Quinn at a ceremony in Dublin.

Selfless volunteer

Awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan said, “The people of Blarney and Cork are very grateful for the work that Kate does. She selflessly gives her time to causes and people that need support, and we are thrilled to acknowledge her commitment to the Cork community with this award.”

Kate’s name will now go forward for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at an awards lunch on January 15th next at Rochestown Park Hotel. Sponsors of the awards scheme are the Irish Examiner/The Echo; RTE; Southern; Lexus Cork; AM O’Sullivan PR; Cork Crystal; Tony O’Connell Photography; CAVS and Musgrave MarketPlace.