Guild mem­bers pay trib­ute to Ma­bel’s re­mark­able life story

Irish Examiner - Farming - - COUNTRY LIVING - He­len O’Cal­laghan

A nurse who drove a Lon­don am­bu­lance in the Sec­ond World War, an ac­tive mem­ber of Coun­try Mar­kets, and a proud ICA mem­ber for well over 60 years — Lim­er­ick Fed­er­a­tion and Mun­gret St Paul’s Guild have paid trib­ute to beloved ICA mem­ber Ma­bel Hayes, who died on March 16, aged 103.

Born in Wales in 1915, the late Ma­bel could tell many tales of the event­ful wartime years. She and hus­band John Hayes made Lim­er­ick their fam­ily home some years after they mar­ried. They reared seven daugh­ters and two sons and her fam­ily cared for her at her home un­til her death. Ma­bel grew and sold veg­eta­bles and flow­ers, as well as bak­ing for the mar­kets. She saw it as an in­valu­able way of pro­vid­ing for her fam­ily. She was first a mem­ber of Lim­er­ick City Guild and in 1969. Ap­proached by a lo­cal priest to form a guild in Mun­gret she took on the chal­lenge and formed a very ac­tive guild. She be­came its first pres­i­dent and over the years served in many roles in what be­came known as Mun­gret St Paul’s Guild.

Elected Lim­er­ick Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent in 1977, she served un­til 1980 and was in­stru­men­tal in set­ting up cer­tain Lim­er­ick guilds. She vis­ited Áras an Uachtaráin in 1995 on the 85th an­niver­sary of ICA’s found­ing. As fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent, she was nom­i­nated by the health min­is­ter to be one of the first non-med­i­cal women ap­pointed to the Med­i­cal Coun­cil — she served for five years.

Ma­bel at­tended many of the ICA 2010 cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions and was very proud that Lim­er­ick lady Anne Maria Den­ni­son was na­tional pres­i­dent at that time.

On a trip to Lim­er­ick in 2015, then na­tional pres­i­dent Liz Wall vis­ited Ma­bel at her home to con­grat­u­late her on her 100th birth­day. A wonderful crafts per­son, Ma­bel was gen­er­ous in shar­ing her knowl­edge with other mem­bers. She was hugely in­ter­ested in Lim­er­ick Show’s craft sec­tion and pre­sented the Ma­bel Hayes Tro­phy for best over­all adult bak­ing — it’s still com­peted for to­day. For many years Ma­bel her­self pre­sented the tro­phy.

In re­cent years, she kindly wel­comed the guild to meet in her home. She hosted her last meet­ing on March 6. In­ter­ested in all ICA ac­tiv­i­ties, she loved read­ing na­tional and fed­er­a­tion news­let­ters. Ma­bel is re­mem­bered with great warmth and af­fec­tion by guild and fed­er­a­tion mem­bers. Many at­tended her fu­neral and pro­vided a guard of hon­our.

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Mun­gret St Paul Guild mem­ber Ma­bel Hayes, who passed away in March, aged 103.

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