The work of Donal Walsh, 16, who died last year after a battle with cancer, is being continued in different ways, including film.
A total of 80 entries from primary and second-level schools, and third-level institutions were submitted to an inaugural national film competition, Live Life, dedicated to Donal’s memory and to encourage the young generation to spread his positive message.
The creative media department at the Institute of Technology, Tralee, and Dairymaster, based in Causeway, Co Kerry, linked up to organise the competition. Prizes were presented on Live Life Love Day at the college yesterday.
The Spa National School, outside Tralee, which Donal attended, won first prize in its section.
Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine in Kenmare was awarded the second-level prize, while Eimear O’Grady of Solas Training Centre in Tralee took first place among the third-level entrants.
Among those present were Donal’s mother Elma and sister Jema; rugby international Conor Murray; television presenters Aidan Power and Diana Bunici; musician Liam O’Connor; and Edmond Harty, Dairymaster managing director and Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year.
Elma Walsh told a large gathering of young people that they were doing what her son had asked them to do — to live their lives and do things he could not do.
“The only regret he had in his last few months was to leave behind all these beautiful things,’’ she said.
“God gave him a challenge and he took it on. He asked his peers, in return, to appreciate life and to live it. Use the opportunities you have been given and you have started that by being here today.’’
Conor Murray said several members of the Munster team had got to know Donal, who realised how much sport meant to young people.
“He had a huge effect on the Munster lads who felt privileged to have known him,” said Murray. “He also showed how privileged we are and the influence we can have on people like him.’’
Mary Lucey, head of the IT’s creative media and computing department, said they were encouraged by the response to the film competition, which will return next year.
The whole idea was to spread the positive message of “live life”, she said.