Hats off to Races prize winner!

Lily Walsh from Kilconieron, winner of the Children’s Best Hat, on Mad Hatters Day at the Galway Races.

It was a case of two from two at the Galway Races for Kilconieron girl, Lily Walsh, on Sunday last as she took top spot for the second time in the children’s Mad Hatter Competition.

In her second outing at the Ballybrit competition, the 13-year-old won the much coveted prize of a family trip to Lapland sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock.

However, Lily, who previously triumphed in the competition in 2012, will not be making the trip and instead has decided to donate the prize to a very worthy cause.

The trip, which is valued at around €5,000, will be gifted to the LauraLynn Foundation in the hope that a sick child and their family will have a trip of a lifetime.

According to her father, PJ Walsh, Lilly and those who helped her to design the hat decided that they would prefer to see the trip go to a deserving family at a time when they need it most.

“We thought it would be a nice gesture to donate this trip to charity and the prize is worth almost €5,000.

“Lilly’s first time winning was back in 2012 and this is just an amazing thing for her to do,” said PJ.

Lilly’s mother, Bridget, said that it was decided from the get-go that if the hat was to win, the prize would be donated to charity.

“We came up with the idea to do the hat and we have a lovely neighbour who is just very artistic.

“Everyone does a bit – Eva does the painting, Peter the moulding…when it was started, we said it would go to charity and we stayed with that when we did win,” said Bridget.

The creation that won in 2012 was based on the haymaking season and Lilly decided that it should be something topical this time around.

Steering clear of Donald Trump and Brexit, a more Galway relevant selection was made and so ‘The Tunnel’ hat was born – depicting a route into the racecourse familiar with a sizable majority of last week’s 138,000 race-goers.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.