Congratulations to popular lady Jennifer Bannon who was recently crowned as Overall Mum of the Year Runner Up at the Woman’s Way & Beko Mum of the Year Awards! “I just can’t believe that this is happening to me. I’m still pinching myself,” said Jennifer. The mum of four and grandmother of five has ‘weathered’ numerous challenges in her life yet she hasn’t let any of these hold her back. When she made the decision to separate from her husband, raising her children on her own was ‘tough’ but the right choice for their happiness and wellbeing. “I just wanted them to have a happy life to have a good start,” she says adding that being a mum brings so much joy to her life. “My children are quite close because it’s just been me and them. ‘Trying to mind everybody except myself,’ is what Jennifer says led to her suffering some health concerns after her daughter got married. “Everything just got on top of me and the doctor said, ‘You’re only one person you know, if you don’t look after yourself you can’t look after anybody.’” Jennifer notes that over the years she has managed to ‘turn some very negative experiences into positive action.’ In recent years she returned to education, completing a Level 5 Community Addiction Studies course in Ballyfermot, and she now works with families afflicted by addiction. “Now I’m doing a Community Employment scheme in the Family Support Network,” she says. “It’s a pleasure because I meet a lot of women through them, coming into the office.” An ‘avid walker’ Jennifer has always been passionate about keeping fit and healthy as her own mother died when she was only 25. “She had suffered really badly with arthritis, I never wanted to have that so I took up all the sports I could, including walking,” she says. “I just completed the Camino de Santiago in April, I did it all on my own.” Over the years Jennifer has walked hundreds of miles in order to raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation, her way of ‘giving back’ for the fantastic care her father received when he was ill.