Keith to step down as autism patron
Boyzone singer Keith Duffy has announced that he is stepping down as patron of Irish Autism Action (IAA).
Keith said he has relinquished the role in order to concentrate on his family and career.
The former Coronation Street star has been actively fundraising and building awareness of children with autism for more than a decade.
His daughter Mia (14) was diagnosed with autism when she was 18 months old.
Duffy and his wife Lisa also have an 18-year-old son Jay, an aspiring actor, who is currently studying for his Leaving Certificate.
During his time at Irish Autism Action, Duffy (40) has helped the charity to raise more than €8m, which contributed significantly to the creation and development of services for children with autism and their families.
Kevin Whelan, CEO of Irish Autism Action, said it was impossible to sum up the extent of Duffy's work.
"There has been a considerable amount of advantages to having Keith on board," he said.
"Without his stellar campaigning for IAA, we would not be in the place we are today.
"Our belief is that awareness drives understanding which in turn drives action.
"Keith has been key in creating the awareness through his extensive, very personal interviews relating to his family's journey with autism," he added.
As part of his work with the IAA, Duffy was instrumental in recently securing over 3,000 iPads for children with autism by encouraging the recycling of nearly half a million phones.
His public support for 12 early-intervention schools in Ireland helped them to secure state recognition.
The Dublin native also launched a partnership between Early Childhood Ireland and IAA to help create autism friendly pre-school settings.
The numerous events he ran to raise funds included the Keith Duffy Ball, Ironman 70.3, the Keith Duffy 5k in Phoenix Park, Tour De Force Cycle, Connemarathon, the Keith Duffy Masquerade Ball and Blue Nose Day
His trojan work has not gone unnoticed and last November the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland awarded Keith an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his work as a campaigner for children with autism.
Despite stepping down, Duffy has promised he will see through a number of events that he has set up for Irish Autism Action for 2015, including National Pyjama Day on March 6 which is set to raise significant funds for IAA over the next three years.