Congratulations to parishioner and Blarney Church Toddler Team Leader Ruth Hockey who on Saturday 18th January won the ‘Hall of Fame’ Award at the Blarney Person of the year awards held at Blarney Castle Hotel. These annual awards are hosted & supported by The Muskerry News and Blarney and District Chamber of Commerce.

In January 2019 she won the person of the Month. Organiser Kate Durrant commented – ‘ 20 years of love and giving to the community acknowledged with heartfelt thanks’.

In receiving her Person of the Month award Ruth commented how she was so thankful for the team and also how she felt called by God to have helped set up toddlers Originally.

Revd Robert Ferris, Associate Minister in Blarney who was in attendance at the awards commented –

Below is her nomination which appeared in the Muskerry News in January 2019.

‘On Tuesday 9th February 1999, the recently renovated and renamed Church of the Resurrection in Blarney opened its doors on the first morning of an adventure.

This was to be an adventure filled with fun, food, friendship and families, toys, tea (and coffee!), talk and trust, songs, stories, support and sharing, crafts, creativity, kindness and chaos (organised!), play, painting, people and prayer.

The group began as an off-shoot of Carrigrohane Parent and Toddler group (now known as Sparks). With a small team and only a handful of parents and children, the group set up to share God’s love and serve the community in Blarney and surrounding areas.

Whilst Ruth Hockey and Alice Good are the only two original members involved, many others have given years of faithful service and there have always been new people to join the team as others move on.

One of the many special things about Blarney Toddler Group is the unity they enjoy as members of different church traditions. The team has always been drawn from both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic communities who pray together for the group each Tuesday morning and keep a prayer request and suggestions box on their resource tables.

People arrive at the church gates from 9.40am each Tuesday and the group can safely fit 70 people in the building. Such is the groups popularity that, at times over the years, they have had to shut the gates for everyone’s comfort and safety.

The group has a registration book, which may not even have been signed by everybody, and know that around 700 adults have passed through their doors, not to mention the all-important babies and toddlers who come with them!

Many people tell of their fond memories of their time at Toddlers. They speak of it as a lifeline during the busy, and sometimes stressful and isolating period of parenthood, and of friendships which have lasted over the years as children have grown up.

Some mums continue to meet regularly and even holiday together, au pairs have made connections with other au pairs and host families and sometimes whole families have built relationships, all that began over a cup of tea at Toddlers!’