A Cavan community project was selected as one of the winners in the 15th Pride of Place Awards announced over the weekend. 'Erica’s Fairy Forest' received a special awards, sponsored by IPB I(nsurance in association with Co-operation Ireland, when they were announced on Saturday night at a Gala Awards Ceremony in Donegal.
‘Erica’s Fairy Forest’ is a special community project created to remember a young cancer patient Erica Ní Draighneain, (2010-2016) who passed away at the age of five following illness. Since opening, the fairy forest has been a place of great family enjoyment at Dartry Forest Park.
Erica’s Fairy Forest is located in the beautiful surrounding of Halton’s Amenity Park and allows children of all ages as well as local schools to discover fairy doors, a worry plaque, a wishing chair, picnic areas, fairy post box, hobbit door and dummy collection.
Every season sees new themes and events such as the free Easter Egg Trail, attended by over 1000 children. A local committee has been established for upkeep and event management, working closely with Cootehill Area Development. It has inspired local artists to commission pieces of art displayed within the forest. Local businesses have benefited from increased tourism.
Erica’s Fairy Forest was created by Erica’s parents to honour her memory and belief in fairies. During Erica’s challenge of childhood cancer the local community fundraised to support the family. Erica died before benefiting from these funds, however they made the fairy forest possible. It is a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ from Erica’s family to the community.
In their citation the judges said: “This is a wonderful tribute to the memory of Erica and the challenge of childhood cancer this community based project has given tremendous solace and support to Erica’s family and friends and to the wider community.”
Peter Sheridan, Chief Executive of Co-operation Ireland said “The Pride of Place Awards ceremony is an ideal opportunity for organisations to come together and learn from each other. This will be important as we prepare for the inevitable changes Brexit will bring to the island of Ireland. I congratulate everyone who was nominated but I extend special congratulations to those groups who were triumphant this evening.”