A long-time volunteer of the Festival, Ethna has supported Wexford Festival Opera for over 20 years. She started her volunteering journey with Wexford working on the Lunchtime Recitals Programme, happening daily throughout the Festival. Ethna has since supported many different areas of the Festival, including selling programmes at the evening operas and various hospitality roles looking after many Festival guests and friends.
Ethna is very well-known and popular among the Festival’s volunteer base and staff, as well as the wider Wexford community, which helped her celebrate her 80th birthday last year. Ethna is a very valued member of the Wexford Festival family and so it is only fitting that we celebrate and honour her through this award.
The announcement was made by Artistic Director, Rosetta Cucchi and Scott Hayes, Head of Relationship Management at Ecclesiastical Ireland from the stage of The National Opera House on the night of the first public dress rehearsal, La Tempesta, attended by an audience of Festival volunteers.
Chair of the Festival’s Volunteer Committee, Eleanor Modler, said “There are so many adjectives to describe Ethna, enthusiastic, warm, welcoming, friendly, but most of all it’s her passion for Wexford Festival Opera and all involved that makes her a perfect choice for Volunteer of the Year”
Ecclesiastical Insurance, proud sponsor of the Festival’s Volunteer Programme, is Ireland’s leading specialist insurance company serving the education, faith, heritage and charity sectors, providing insurance and services for those who care about their communities and the environment in which they live and work. Ecclesiastical Insurance is a company that donates a significant proportion of its profits to charity, so it is fitting that they are associated with the award.
Speaking on behalf of Ecclesiastical, John Devitt, Sales Manager said, “The very survival of many charitable institutions is dependent on the volunteer sector and the dedicated volunteers at Wexford Opera Festival are no exception to this. Their professionalism is a perfect complement to the world class performances that we witness during every festival. I’d like to congratulate this year’s winner Ethna Ryan for the incredible work she has done over more than 20 years and for achieving this prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award 2022. At Ecclesiastical, we are delighted to be associated once again with this award and our particular congratulations also go to Eleanor and her team for their invaluable contribution to the Festival.”