The Mayo Association London is a voluntary benevolent society committed to giving a helping hand to those in need, anticipating changing social needs and driving innovative and effective responses to matters affecting our community here in London and back home in Mayo.
It was formed by a group of Mayo men in 1962. John Brady was first chairman and the President was Fr Tom Burke. The first banquet was organised and held in Fulham Town Hall – where an astonished Mayor welcomed over 700 guests. It has been an annual event ever since.
It was a very useful organisation to the Mayo immigrants of the 60’s because in the times when there were fewer Irish in London and when it was less popular to be Irish – it proved to be a useful grapevine for sharing information on good work, good digs and good company. It was always a force for good that united Mayo folk in all sorts of ways. It very soon became a focus for the Mayo community here.
It is estimated that the Association has distributed or been involved in the distribution of more than £1,500,000 for worthy charitable causes since its inception. Fundraising was organised for so many worthy causes. Generally representing Mayo folk whenever they had something to say or do over the years us both here and in Ireland.
The Mayo Association in London supported Fr Horan in his efforts to get the project off the ground and organised the first chartered flights into Knock to coincide with the opening of the airport on the 12th June 1986. It was also represented on the first Ryan Air flight into the newly opened airport and negotiated the terms for the continuance of Ryanair’s funeral service when it was threatened some years ago.
The Mayo Association in London has always been a vibrant and forward thinking body and promoted Irish music and dancing, Irish culture and Irish products through its affiliation with the Council of Irish Counties and at the Annual Irish Festival in Round wood Park London NW10 and St Patrick’s Day parades. It also strongly supported the launch of the “The Irish Post” recognizing immediately the benefits an Irish Community paper would bring.
The Mayo Golf Society which evolved from the Mayo Association in 1982 boasts to being in the top 10% of all the 15,000 golf societies throughout Great Britain and Ireland. It has been a huge success both as a golf and social benevolent society in it’s own right.
It the late 80’s during some of the worst emigration from Ireland the Association was foremost in the set up of the Safestart Foundation and with help from friends in other associations in London, as well as Dublin, Manchester – and back in Mayo – nourished it to a thriving organisation that has helped thousands of young people get started and settled in London. They are still on board backing SafeStart efforts in helping the elderly Irish with a range of facilities that are being provided at their Wembley Irish Elders Club, in Cricklewood and in Hillingdon.
County Mayo stretches worldwide now with Mayo associations in every continent. Regular world conferences discuss and share ideas on various issues and it is clear that despite the distance separating delegates none have forgotten their roots or fondness for the homeland. The Mayo Irish in London have been to the forefront promoting all that is good and noble about us for nearly half a century long may it continue…
Tom Beisty – Former Chairperson and Life President