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  • Sport

Tributes to the late Tony Lee

Wednesday, 30th September, 2020 12:51pm
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Tributes to the late Tony Lee

The late Tony Lee.

Tributes to the late Tony Lee

The late Tony Lee.

IT was with a heavy heart that we learned of the death of our dear friend and colleague, Tony Lee, our County Chairman. Tony had battled illness for the past five weeks and last Wednesday, on the autumn equinox, God called him home. Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Peggy, Audrey, Gerry, Greg, Derek and Robert; his grandchildren Rebecca, Sean, Sam, Jack, Cillian and Zac; his sisters Teresa and Mary Anne; his extended family, his wide circle of friends and the Community Games family.

Tony's spirit of volunteerism began over half a century ago when as a member of Tuam Athletic Club he organised Road Races bringing Eamon Coughlan, John Treacy, Seb Coe and others to the town of Tuam.

 He was also a member of the 2003 Galway Special Olympics, assisting in the organising the transport arrangements for the Great Britain team and volunteering in the RDS and Simmons Court during the World Games. Tony was also involved with the Rounders Association of Ireland, serving as National Chairman for over 12 years and was involved in the setting up of the first national Féiles.

But it was with Community Games that his organisational skills came to the fore. I am proud to have served with him for over 40 years, and for 36 years as County Chairman and Secretary on the Galway County Committee and later on the Connacht Council. Tony was Galway County Chairman, Tuam Vice-Chairman, and was also Connacht President and National Deputy President. He was a thorough gentleman, his volunteerism with Community Games and other organisations can never be underestimated. His focus was always on the young participants and making sure their participation in the ‘Games’ was the best that it could be. His attention to detail was evident and we all remember him marking the athletic track so that it was inch perfect. His chairing of the county meetings were legendary and he was already putting in place ideas for the celebrations of Galway Community Games 50th anniversary in 2021.

For many years, Tony has been the captain of the Galway Community Games ship, steering it with a deft hand on a steady course insuring that the thousands of children and young people who participated in the ‘Games’ would do so in a safe environment, learning new skills from the 40 activities promoted by Community Games, having fun and making memories. He was always of the opinion that if children were involved in sport, music, the arts or other healthy pursuits, they would have friends for life, enhancing a rounded character and setting them up for an exciting road to adulthood.

As Connacht President, Tony organised the presentation area and he had such respect for the flags that he could give a masterclass on the way to fold them, again his attention to detail.

Tony was the life and soul of the party, always being the first to start a sing-song and he was a great story teller, but in the telling of the story as everyone who knew him could vouch for. He always had a twinkle in his eye and was averse to the odd bit of devilment, but this is what made him a special and unique person. Sometimes you were not quite sure if he was being serious or it was ‘Packets, Sham’.

Tony has now ‘fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith and now there is store for him the crown of righteousness’ and may he now rest in the arms of the angels. As members of the County Committee we are all devastated at the loss of a friend we have worked with for over 40 years.

 — Breda Power (PRO, Galway Community Games).

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