The ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture is the keynote address at the Annual & Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society.
The theme of the lecture is generally reflective of the presenter’s special interests and perspectives on ageing and older people. In recent years our esteemed lecturers have covered interests, concerns and challenges over a broad range of topics including medicine, economics, social policy and law.
In 1977, Willie Bermingham founded ALONE (A Little Offering Never Ends), an organisation which highlighted the plight of old forgotten individuals who were living in squalid neglect in Dublin. This was after he had found several people dead in appalling conditions through his work as a firefighter.
Willie undertook his ALONE project on a voluntary basis, whilst still holding down his job in Dublin Fire Brigade. Many colleagues joined him as volunteers. As news spread of the work, the organisation grew. Although it has become a relatively large organisation, the focus on older people as individuals has never changed.
Willie received a People of the Year award in 1979. In 1985 he was awarded the International Firefighter of the Year award. In 1988, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law by Trinity College, Dublin.
Willie Bermingham died after a short illness in 1990. However, the foundations he laid has ensured that ALONE is still an active charity in Ireland. It supports housing and befriending schemes as well as advocating for older people. 100% of donations to ALONE go to front-line services.
ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecturers
1994 Prof. Kay-Tee Khaw, University of Cambridge
1995 Prof. Michael Horan, University of Manchester
1996 Prof. Mary Tinetti, Yale University School of Medicine
1997 Prof. Rose-Anne Kenny, University of Newcastle
1998 Dr. Jeanne Wei, Division of Gerontology, Harvard Medical School
1999 Prof. Itamar Abrass, University of Seattle, Washington
2000 Prof. Mark Castleden, University of Leicester
2001 Prof. Jeremy Walston, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore
2002 Prof. John Grimley Evans, University of Oxford
2003 Dr. Trey Sunderland, National Institute on Ageing, Bethesda, USA
2004 Prof. Cameron Swift, Kings College Hospital, London
2005 Dr. Jeremy Playfer, Royal Liverpool Hospital
2006 Prof. Ken Rockwood, Geriatric Medical Unit, Nova Scotia
2007 Prof. Alan Walker, University of Sheffield
2008 Prof. William Molloy, St. Peter’s McMaster Chair in Ageing, Ontario
2009 Prof. Suresh Rattan, University of Aarhus, Denmark
2010 (no WB Lecture due to hosting EUGMS 2010)
2011 Prof. Sirpa Hartikainen, University of Eastern Finland
2012 Prof. Martin O’Donnell, NUI Galway
2013 Prof. Yves Joanette, Institute of Ageing, Université de Montréal
2014 Prof. Chris Phillipson, University of Manchester
2015 (No IGS meeting due to hosting IAGG-ER 2015)
2016 Patricia Rickard-Clarke, SAGE Support & Advocacy Service