John founded and runs the Cork City Hospital Children’s Club, which organizes trips for sick children, giving them lifelong happy memories. With the help of his wife Carol and many volunteers, John Looney organises local trips around Cork, as well as European holidays, such as Disneyland, Paris. Sick children and deserving children go on these trips from such organisations as Cork Deaf Community, Edel House Residential Centre and others, as well as Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital.
John, who works on a voluntary basis, was inspired to start the organisation when one of his own children was very ill many years ago, and at that time, there was only a Dublin group that organised such trips.
”These trips also provide an opportunity for children to meet and talk with each other and know that they are not alone. Some kids, such as accident survivors, carry significant emotional trauma, and these days-out help them forget, even for a little while,” said Mr. Looney.
John Looney received his Person of the Year trophy, before an invited audience of 250 people, representing all sectors of Cork society. He received a standing ovation at the Gala Awards Lunch on Jan 15th at the Rochestown Park Hotel. He was accompanied at the event by his wife Carol and his four daughters Pamela, Karen, Noelle and Clodagh.
Other nominees for this year’s award, were the Cork Persons of the Month chosen over the past year. They were Angela Marshall, good neighbour who saved two of her neighbours’ lives; Michael Lenihan, historian and archivist who promotes Cork history and heritage; Marty Morrissey, born in Mallow, for his contribution to the GAA; Billa O’Connell and David McInerney, stars of the golden age of Cork theatre; Veronica Stuart, continuing the craft of traditional lace making; Pat McMahon, Who established a children’s hospital and malnutrition treatment centre in India; Arthur Leahy and Kieran Rose, leadership role in Same Sex Marriage Equality Referendum; Cillian O’Leary and Liam O’Leary, family wins in City Marathon and Over 60’s Talent Show; Moyra Woodworth, service for the Cork Assoc., of Autism; Peter O’Mahony, glittering rugby career with Munster and Ireland; and Mary White, promoting Cork Ladies Football team’s record achievements.
Prime Time’s Miriam O’Callaghan RTE acted as Master of Ceremonies and the award judges were Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, Cork County Council and Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council.