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International Young Ambassador of the 21st Century:

shane - roscommon

Shane continues to pick up the Young Ambassador titles
By Mairead O'Shea

Young Oran man Shane O'Brien has won the prestigious title of Lions International Young Ambassador of the 21st Century.

The eighteen-year-old was representing Roscommon Leo Club in the final of the British Isles and Ireland category of the competition. Shane won the nationwide event in Ireland at the end of January and he went on to compete in England last week. He beat off stiff competition from eleven other finalists from England, Scotland and Wales to be crowned the overall winner. He will now go forward to the European stage of the Young Ambassador competition, which takes place in Bologna, Italy this November.

Shane received the honour for his work on the 4U youth magazine, the 4U radio show on Ros F.M. and a plethora of other community and civic projects. Interviews took place on Saturday and a gala ball took place on Saturday night in Birmingham with the presentations to winners on Sunday morning.

A Leaving Cert student at Roscommon CBS, Shane is a son of Michéal and Rita O'Brien from Oran. He has worked on the 4U magazine since 2007. The quarterly publication sees 3,000 copies distributed to secondary schools throughout the county.

Speaking to the Roscommon Herald, a clearly delighted Shane said: "I was fairly confident going into the competition because our magazine has been a great success, it's all about promoting positive mental health and suicide awareness amongst teenagers. I think our project probably had more room for expansion than some of the others as the 4U magazine circulates to thousands of young people and schools all over the county. We are also hoping to circulate it in Athlone IT; it was a pilot project for Roscommon but I think the judges saw the nationwide potential of the magazine and it was so unique and innovative."

Shane also picked up a cheque for £1,500 as part of his overall prize. He plans to use the bursary award to help finance further publications of the 4U youth magazine will donate part of his winnings to flood victims in the area.

A large crowd of family, friends and members of the Lions and Leo Club travelled to England at the weekend to support Shane. Scramogue natives, Lena O' Malley and Mick Lyons of the Roscommon Association in Birmingham also turned out in support. Shane was accompanied by his parents Michéal and Rita, friends, fellow Leo Club members, Leo Club leaders Eileen Hester, Kathleen Shanagher and Ciaran Mullooly and Lions Club President Gerry Finn.

Shane arrived into Dublin airport late on Sunday night but he was back in school in the CBS on Monday morning as he prepares for his Leaving Cert mocks later this week. A special gathering also took place in Gleeson's Townhouse in Roscommon town on Monday night for the homecoming celebrations.


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