This Summer we launched the very first AXA Farm Hero competition. We wanted to celebrate the unsung heroes working every day in Ireland’s farming communities.
Christy Doherty, Head of Farm at AXA, said of the competition:
"The rural community in Ireland is hugely supportive of one another and we want to recognise those people and the time and energy they give to helping others.”
We asked for your help in finding our AXA Farm Hero and you delivered! The three finalists were announced at the National Ploughing Championship. A big thank you to everyone who sent in a nomination!
Of the nominations, Christy Doherty continued:
*"The nominations for this award really shone a light on the inspiring farmers and farm families across the country." *
Following their appearance at the Ploughing Championship, the finalists were invited onto The Late Late Show to share their heart-warming stories. On the night, Ryan Tubridy named Eugene O’Neill, a dairy farmer from Bracknagh in Co Offaly, as the AXA Farm Hero.
The father of five had raised over €50,000 for Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin. He and his wife Lorraine explained they were inspired to give back after the fantastic care Crumlin Hospital had given their son when he was treated there. They launched a Tractor Run in 2013 to raise much needed funds for the hospital. The Run has since become a very popular annual event and they are expecting 200 tractors to show on October 6th.
Eugene and Lorraine were visibly surprised and grateful to learn they had won the €10,000 prize, all of which they will give to Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin and local volunteers that help the Bracknagh community.
Here’s the moment the couple found out they had won.
You can watch the inspiring stories of all three finalists below:
Eugene O’Neill, our AXA Farm Hero winner
Peter & Paula Hynes were nominated for their work in raising mental health awareness among farming communities.
Timothy O’Connell helped organise a cattle auction to raise funds for a neighbour who had suffered a tragic accident while on holiday.
A massive congratulations to Eugene and his family and a warm thank you to our finalists.