A loving Donegal mammy has received an award for her devotion to caring for her son.

Kathleen McBride from Dunfanaghy was yesterday named as the Donegal Careplus Carer of the Year.

Kathleen cares for her son Martin, aged 20, who lives with Down Syndrome. She has been with him through major health challenges including open heart surgery and a stroke.

Donegal Carer of the Year, Kathleen McBride and her son Martin McBride (20). PHOTO: Mark Stedman

Nominations for Kathleen described her as a lovely lady who looks after her son with pride. She is considered a great friend and is always there to help other carers and listen with an open heart.

Kathleen was presented with her award yesterday in the Westin Hotel Dublin by broadcasters Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy, who are both Patrons of Family Carers Ireland.

Martin McBride, son of Donegal Carer of the Year Kathleen McBride, enjoying a quiet moment at the awards ceremony. Image: Family Carers Ireland

The CarePlus Pharmacy Carer of the Year 2017 awards celebrated and acknowledges the wonderful work that all carers do, and the incredible contribution all carers make to Irish society.

One in twenty people in Ireland today is a family carer, collectively providing €10 billion in unpaid care each year. Family Carers Ireland estimate there are 360,000 family carers.

Paula Robinson from County Cavan was named as Ireland’s overall Carer of the Year. Paula (48), a mum of two, provides round-the-clock, full-time care for both her parents. Her mother Mary (87) and has Alzheimer’s disease and her dad Jimmy (92) is living with Bowel Cancer.

Carer of the Year 2017 Paula Robinson with FCI Head of Communications and Carer Engagement Catherine Cox, FCI patrons Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan and Niamh Lynch, Commercial Director, CarePlus Pharmacy

Catherine Cox, Family Carers Ireland said: “We host these awards to recognise the huge contribution of our family carers and young carers. It is fantastic to be here today and see 30 carers from counties across Ireland represented to celebrate with their families.

“We really appreciate the support of our new sponsor, CarePlus Pharmacy, and are very proud to announce Paula Robinson as our Carer of the Year 2017.”