Centenary Presidential Award 2012
President Adrian presented a unique, special Centenary Presidential Award at the Handover Meeting Monday 2 July held at The Royal Belfast Golf Club to “our own” Pauline Hegney.
President Adrian said “Pauline was a very obvious most worthy recipient; she has been with us each Monday in the Europa for 30 years, looks after us with great patience and understanding and is a true friend to many of us. She finds time during her hour of duty to ask us how we are doing and makes us feel welcome and in my view is now part of our Rotary family as she creates the environment for us to share in fellowship and friendship."
He then asked PP Gordon Millington to relate how he came to find out about Pauline’s other very significant avenue of service in the community. "I had a few hours wait in a New York Airport during the 1990s. On page 2 of the New York Herald was the photograph of a group of Ladies, a second look and I recognised Pauline our waitress at Rotary Lunch. I was surprised and became interested.
I then found her name recorded in the United States Senate and the Irish Seanad in recognition of her contribution to peace in Northern Ireland. Senator Edward Kennedy had on record her work towards peace in a U S senate debate in March 1995 and Dr Mary Henry, now a Pro Chancellor at Trinity, said in a Seanad debate in 1995, that she particularly remembers Pauline who started the Group Widows Against Violence Empower (WAVE) many years ago.
WAVE was started by Pauline in 1991 when she got together six other widows who had lost their husbands to terrorist violence. Pauline had lost hers for no other reason than, as my brother in law said, walking on the wrong side of the road. WAVE has become a well-established organisation running Trauma Centres throughout NI with such people as James Nesbitt, Very Reverend John Dunlop, Cardinal Brady and Lord Eames as its patrons.
Pauline was left with 4 children to bring up, she had a job in the Europa Hotel, but even that job was interrupted by closures due to terrorist attacks. Pauline has now brought up six children all of whom are a credit to her and she continues to help her local community. She has been organising a book sale to gather funds for a local primary school and is the Chair of the Parent Teachers Association.
Pauline is a very modest lady of whom we can all be proud to have known."