Donegal Kurling League honours the late Jean Wilson

The late Jean Wilson has been honoured by the Donegal Kurling League with the announcement that future league winners will be presented with the Jean Wilson Perpetual Shield.
Members from Jean’s family, representatives from the county’s eight kurling clubs and staff from Donegal Sports Partnership gathered this week in Letterkenny to recall her life and times, and remember the hugely positive influence she had in promoting the game of kurling.
Jean, who died in 2021, as the driving force behind the Raphoe Kurling Club, and her kind and caring nature endeared her to all who knew her.
Speaking at this week’s gathering, Karen Guthrie, Community Sports Development Officer with Donegal Sports Partnership, said it was fitting that Jean is being formally honoured for her contribution to kurling.
“The members thought it would be appropriate that the league trophy be named after Jean and that her contribution is recognised. The Donegal Kurling League will be ten years old next year which is a huge achievement, and I’m sure there are some of you here today who were involved back at the start,” Karen commented.
“Jean contacted Donegal Sports Partnership in 2014 and indicated that she wanted to start kurling in Raphoe. We purchased some equipment for the club and set about getting a league going which was made up of four teams – Stranorlar, Raphoe, Killygordon and Lifford.
“We now have a new kurling team in Glenfin and that brings the number of teams up to eight. We have up to 140 people participating every week for 14 weeks twice a year which is huge. It’s our biggest active seniors programme in the county and that all started with one conversation with Jean Wilson. So, we are absolutely delighted to honour her and her contribution,” she added.
“When I started with Donegal Sports Partnership Jean was so good to me. Any time you called to the house you got a big hug and the kettle was always on. Jean was such a warm person and so steady. She could level with anybody of any age.
“When she took a wee step back she was happy to sit and watch from the sidelines and let everyone else play along. Kurling is my favourite programme to work on. I have twelve others and this is the one I come back to every time because I get so much enjoyment from it. It’s lovely to recognise the league going forward in Jean’s name and I’d like to thank some of Jean’s family for coming along today,” the development officer said.
Speaking on behalf of the Wilson family, Jean’s daughter, Lorna McSparron, said her mother was an extremely determined woman.
When Jean retired, Lorna said her mother found a new zest for life. She was a big supporter of the Voice For Older People and subsequently got involved in kurling.
“Kurling was a social thing and it was also exercise. It gave her a whole new lease of life. She loved kurling, the fun everyone had and the great sense of community it gave. She was a great inspiration to all and always had time for everybody,” Lorna commented.
“She would be buzzing if she could see this today. She loved people and getting groups going. She’d also be very humble about it all, and quietly proud. She was always a carer and was always looking to improve the lifestyle of older people. And she was also good at her own self-care.”
Also in attendance at the event were Jean’s daughter-in-law, Tracey Johnson Wilson, her granddaughter, Julie, and great granddaughter, Ellie May.

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