Open Door’s Suzanne Cox re­flects on life be­fore and after she got in­volved with the group


Bray People - - NEWS -

SUZANNE Cox was work­ing at the start of the com­plete tech­no­log­i­cal revo­lu­tion we have wit­nessed in our life­times.

For the past seven-and-a-half years she has been De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer at Open Door Day Care Cen­tre where her role in­cludes fo­cussing on PR and fundrais­ing.

How­ever, in the early 1980s she was work­ing in com­puter pro­gram­ming.

She had a high pow­ered ca­reer which she loved and stayed in un­til her first child was one. ‘I wanted to be at home with the chil­dren,’ she said.

How­ever, she al­ways kept a toe dipped in the pro­fes­sional world with things she could do from home or in short ses­sions such as teach­ing com­put­ers in lo­cal schools, do­ing re­ports for con­sul­tants and so on.

‘It’s a strug­gle. It’s hard to stay at home or go out to work,’ said Suzanne on moth­er­hood and man­ag­ing a ca­reer. She al­ways also had in­volve­ment with Open Door. Her mother Mary Hack­ett was a found­ing mem­ber and is still a trustee. Mary and her friends, the late Olive Quinn and Padrai­gin Hughes, founded the cen­tre in Bray in 1984.

Grey­stones girl He­len Clarke had a brain hem­or­rhage, leav­ing her dis­abled and with no lo­cal fa­cil­ity suit­able for her on a day to day ba­sis.

‘He­len’s ag­ing par­ents asked the East­ern Health Board what was out there for them. They were told the best thing to do was put her in a home in Rath­drum.’

She was the first mem­ber of Open Door and still comes once a week. ‘I was there help­ing paint Fa­tima House, which prob­a­bly wasn’t an ideal build­ing,’ said Suzanne who was a teenager when this was all start­ing. Mean­while, com­put­ers were a bur­geon­ing phe­nom­e­non.

‘I re­mem­ber the first por­ta­ble com­puter, it was like the Singer sewing ma­chine,’ said Suzanne. ‘We had no in­ter­net and of course no mo­bile phones.’

She trained at the Ir­ish Com­puter Train­ing School and was a big fan of ‘ To­mor­row’s World,’ the pro­gramme which showed us all the gad­gets to come in the fu­ture.

While it didn’t en­vis­age the iPhone, Suzanne re­calls see­ing a pre­sen­ter show­ing off the CD. ‘He was say­ing one day we’ll fit ev­ery­thing on this disc, and he started putting jam on it say­ing it would with­stand that abuse!’ she said.

At that time, prior to get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing four chil­dren, she wouldn’t have imag­ined she would be work­ing at Open Door some day.

But she loves her work and is pas­sion­ate about the place.

‘My job is es­sen­tially a sales job,’ she said. ‘It’s sell­ing Open Door, sell­ing the idea of get­ting peo­ple to spon­sor it but I’m not look­ing for com­mis­sion!

‘It’s easy to do be­cause I be­lieve very much in Open Door. There’s no­body who works here or vol­un­teers here that doesn’t be­lieve in it.’

She almost fell into the job. Her pre­de­ces­sor was leav­ing, and Suzanne heard about the vacancy. She was in­ter­viewed by the panel, was suc­cess­ful and has been there ever since. It’s a chal­leng­ing role, as the money sim­ply has to come in to fi­nance the op­er­a­tion.

‘We have to raise money to run all of our ac­tiv­i­ties,’ said Suzanne. So that in­cludes sup­plies, equip­ment, par­al­lel bars and much more. ‘You can’t scrimp on those things.’ A new bus is com­ing in Jan­uary, thanks to the Na­tional Lot­tery.

‘We were very, very lucky this year. We ap­plied for the HSE Na­tional Lot­tery fund­ing for a bus and got it so we’ll be re­plac­ing our old­est bus in Jan­uary.’

Aside from all of that, Suzanne is a Grey­stones res­i­dent and huge fan of the area where she lives with her hus­band Dec, twins Ben and Sam, Nicky, Jodie and the two dogs, right in the town.

‘I love Grey­stones, I ab­so­lutely love it. It’s got ev­ery­thing, it’s just fan­tas­tic. I love my job but there’s noth­ing nicer than com­ing home from work, grab­bing the dogs and head­ing for the beach or the woods.’

It’s a very dif­fer­ent place now than the sleepy vil­lage where Suzanne grew up hack­ing ponies around the coun­try­side. ‘We moved to Grey­stones when I was four.’

The pop­u­la­tion has in­creased, and hous­ing es­tates are lo­cated where once were fields. ‘You could ride your horses up and down the Main Street,’ said Suzanne.

She got her first pony at the age of 11. ‘Dad bought a pony for me and my sis­ter to share.

I rode her from Grey­stones to Bren­nanstown in April 1974. I rode her in the novice showjump­ing, which we won.’ A cou­ple of ‘old horsey men’ said ‘ that pony’s very fat, put her on a diet.’

How­ever, another man said that the pony might be in foal.

‘I rode her up to the vet, who con­firmed that yes she was in foal and told me to lead her home!’

‘Sur­prise’ the pony was born weeks later and be­came a beloved mem­ber of the fam­ily.

‘When she was be­ing weaned I slept out­side in a tent and she put her head inside the tent on my pil­low,’ said Suzanne. To­day, she said she is very grate­ful to ev­ery­one who sup­ports Open Door, in­clud­ing her fam­ily who come on board to help out all the time for back­ground work and are her loyal and ded­i­cated ‘right hand men.’

Suzanne Cox with Dickie Rock who played in the 10th Reg­gie Cor­ri­gan Golf Clas­sic for Open Door.

Suzanne with her mother Mary (left), first mem­ber He­len (front), Ais­ling Gall and Lena Lawler.

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