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The Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Award was commissioned by the Irish Paramedicine Education Research Network (IPERN). The award is given to an outstanding woman in the field of pre-hospital and emergency care. This was a very different and special project to create an object of both commemoration and celebration.

Named in honour of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, pilot of the Irish Coast Guard's Rescue 116 Helicopter. In 2017 Dara and her crew were lost in tragic circumstances when Rescue 116 crashed off the west coast of Ireland while participating in a rescue. I got the opportunity to learn more about Dara and the remarkable character she was through her friends and family during this process, and worked with her sister Niamh to create a design for the award.

The four-fold knot surrounding the star of life at the top of the award is an element from the crest of the Irish Air Corps. The Celtic knot used for the award identity is called the Dara knot and is a symbol familiar to Dara's family. During the design process one of the materials I suggested for the body of the award was cherry wood, which again had a personal significance to the Family. Through this process a second award was also created to thank the family for their help and for allowing Dara to be commemorated in this way.

The inaugural award was presented on the 8th of March 2023 at a ceremony in the University of Limerick. The award winner was Francis Brennan, A paramedic who responded to the Creeslough explosion in Donegal in October 2022. Francis was not just a first responder but lived in the area and was first on the scene to come to the aid of her own community, knowing many of the people involved.

It was a great honour for me to have the opportunity to work on this project and to produce something to honour Dara and the incredible women who work in emergency medicine in Ireland.