Irish Network Stevenage (INS)

01438 725400

Luke Donovan 1939 - 2023

It was a heavy heart that the Irish Network Stevenage announced that their Chair, Luke Donovan died on Friday 9 June 2023.

Luke was born in County Wexford in 1939. He moved to London in 1957, and then relocated to Stevenage to work on the building of new Stevenage. He worked on the buildings for the whole of his working life. Luke was always very involved in making the world better for other people. All his working life he was heavily involved in the unions looking out for the welfare of all that worked on the building sites in and around Stevenage.

He never forgot his Irish roots and would organise monthly dances for the Irish community in Stevenage. When he retired he was instrumental in setting up the charity, Irish Network Stevenage, which became the most prominent older persons charity in Stevenage, supporting hundreds of members through the town. Although initially it was mainly the Irish community, over time it widened its reach. As well as having many different social events including bingo, tea dances, exercise classes, Luke and other volunteers would visit the older members of the community and provide whatever support they could.

When Covid hit, the charity had to re-focus and went from providing social events and visiting community members to calling them. Luke would typically make 200 calls a week, checking that the people had the support they needed and providing a familiar and reassuring voice on the end of the line. Many of the community say that his calls were one of the highlights of their week.

In 2019 the Irish Network Stevenage received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service as recognition of the work Luke and the charity did in the community.

Luke was a well recognised member of the Stevenage community – wherever he went he met a friend, and his humour and positive outlook was appreciated by all. The Irish Network Stevenage is Luke’s legacy to the community. He will be missed by all who knew him.