THE highlight of Shannon Toastmasters Club open night event on Wednesday of last week at Treacy’s Oakwood Hotel was the launch of the Bridget Sunderland Perpetual Memorial Trophy.
The newly launched trophy, is a co-operative venture of Shannon Toastmasters, Ennis Toastmasters, Kilrush and District Toastmasters, and Raheen Toastmasters clubs.
It will be awarded annually to outstanding members who exemplify the core Toastmasters’ values of respect, integrity, service, and excellence from any of these clubs, who together comprise Area 13 of District 71 of the Toastmasters organisation.
The event was a poignant opportunity for the host club as people remembered and paid tribute to their deceased former member and friend Bridget Sunderland at the launch of the trophy named in her honour.
These many memories of Bridget’s exemplary Toastmasters service, included serving as Club President of Shannon 2018/2019 until her last role as Area 13 Director 2019/2020.
Her loss could not be adequately expressed at the time when she passed away at the height of the lockdown on Christmas Eve 2020 so the tribute event turned out to be a very special night full of emotion, laughter, and some tears.
The launch of this trophy was made more meaningful by the presence of Bridget’s daughter Annmarie and her husband Dave along with Bridget’s grandchildren Pearce Merrigan, and Aislinn, Ciara and Zoe Sunderland.
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.