Getting stuck in to their dream jobs

Joy Watts from Dublin with Noel McMeel, executive head chef, Castle Leslie Estate, Co Monaghan.

Joy Watts got stuck into cooking as soon as she arrived at Castle Leslie Cookery School and found out how to make hassle-free shortbread, using the chef’s own recipe and how to cut goat’s cheese cleanly using a strand of ordinary sewing thread.

By lunchtime, however, Joy was so tired she had to ask for some time out and that was no problem. Noel asked Joy how she had overcome the daily challenges posed by rheumatoid arthritis.

“He was incredibly sympathetic and very positive also about the work that Arthritis Ireland is doing,” Joy recalled.

At the end of the day Joy was presented with a certificate stating that she could no longer feign culinary inexperience.

Rachel Louise Cogan from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, with stylist Gary Carolan on the set of The Tudors with Octagon Films.

On the day, Rachel got dressed in one of the costumes used in the film production at Ardmore Studios in Bray, Co Wicklow.

She was also brought on set where Natalie Dormer, who plays Anne Boylyn in the show, was filmed and was able to watch from the sidelines.

“Having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 19, I’ve had five years to come to terms with it. In the beginning it wasn’t quite so easy,” she said.

At the time she was studying mechanical engineering in college, but had to give up the course because she was in too much pain.

Effective pain management has allowed her to go back to college to do a one-year administration course that allowed her to get a job and get on with her life.

Mel Leahy from Castlepollard, Co Westmeath, and George Hook at the Newstalk 106-108 FM studio.

Mel was delighted to be able to sit in the studio with the guys from Newstalk and it reminded him of his days working before his illness struck. One of the main highlights of the day was meeting George and interacting with his team.

“That is one of the things I miss, meeting people and being involved in a daily working role,” he said.

On the whole, he thought the experience was great because no one looked on his rheumatoid arthritis as an obstacle in any way as long as he was willing to get involved.

“The experience helped me to feel that I am still capable of work in a different area to what I was used to, and that’s good to know,” he said.

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