And so, this is Christmas, I hope you have fun.
It's been a great year for all of us involved in Vision Impaired sport.
On Jan 1st Jason Smyth joined the Vision Sports Board, by mid-July Jason had won World sprint titles at 100m and 200m. In less than 10 years he has won 10 major titles (5 Paralympic, 5 World).
Katie George-Dunlevy and Eve Crystal won gold in tandem at the UCI World Paracycling Road Championships in South Africa while Paul McCormack retained his US Blind Golf title in Arizona.
2017 saw debuts in international sport for our VI Tennis players at the inaugural Worlds in Alicante where Wally Roode medalled; our blind footballers made their Euro Championships debuts while teenage judoka Paul Geoghegan made his international start in Germany.
Back home it looks as if the rising tide has floated all boats and we may be at our highest participation level ever as we see great interest in Park Runs, Para-triathlon and, most recently, in swimming.
As awards season reaches fever pitch, with several of our members nominated, the Volunteer Ireland Award to the legend that is veteran tandem pilot Benny Grogan gives us all such cheer. Congratulations Benny, you are the life and soul of leisure tandem cycling in Ireland.
The recent Government announcement of Dormant Account funding for our 4 sports of athletics, swimming, cycling and para-triathlon plus ongoing funding for VI tennis will see major results in 2018.
2017 saw us on the telly and in the papers just a bit: Celebrity Operation Transformation, Six-One News, Indo and Times. Our social media following has doubled to almost 3,000. We have several excellent videos out on Facebook. Special credit here to Mark O'Connor and family.
It's been a real honour to be your elected Chair here at Vision Sports throughout 2017. It has been the year of moving office to NCBI, losing Sarah, gaining Rahim and then losing him again to the Civil Service. Our Board is at max strength with the addition of Tina, Sandra, Fiona, Kevin, Barry, Vinny and Jason. We are so lucky also to retain Ann, Alan, Caroline, Martin, Finbarr, Patricia and Robbie.
2017 was the year we returned to actively trying to raise a few bob to fund our growing needs. Thank you for your support. Thank you, 7 times Paralympian Catherine Walsh who ran the Dublin Marathon, for us and then engaged Mojo Fitness Club in Donabate. Together, they have raised a modest 4 figure sum!
a time for me to raise a glass to you, to thank you all for a wonderful year. On behalf of the Vision Sports Board, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
Vision Sports Ireland