Some 40 inspirational people from the Banbridge District were recognised at this year’s prestigious Community Awards ceremony at the Belmont Hotel.
Supported by Tesco, this year’s awards were the last chance for Banbridge District Council to honour individuals of outstanding merit who have made a real difference to the lives of others.
Nominations were invited during September under eleven different categories and the response from the community was exceptional.
Before announcing the award winners, Council Chairman Marie Hamilton addressed the nominee.
“As this is the last ever Community Awards to be hosted by Banbridge District Council,” she said, “I can assure those receiving an award tonight that they are joining a long list of highly respected individuals whose tireless work is much appreciated by the communities they have helped.
“We are truly blessed to have within our community some wonderful examples of people who go the extra mile to make a difference to those around them. Banbridge District Council is delighted to recognise your achievements. We know that the time and effort you have put in has brought great benefit to the district and its people including young people, older people, people with disabilities, the marginalised and those at risk of exclusion.”
The Council received many nominations in the Voluntary Community Award category, which reflected the high number of people working locally within this sector. Among those to receive an award for their work in this area were Robert Nesbitt, Mairead Woods, Robert Evans, William McKeown, Susan Burns, Laura Greenaway, Nigel Dowds, Shauna Devlin, Simon McConnon, Tracy-May McAtamney, Natasha Millar, Philip McKiverigan, Leonard Whimpanny, Rodney Mitchell, Hannah Malone, Lorraine Rankin, Gail Redmond, Anne Hulme, Bronagh Rafferty, Gwyneth McCarrison and Andrew Wilson.
Similarly, there were several winners in the Fundraiser of the Year and Promoting Equality and Good Relations categories. Philip Hutton, Kenny McCahon and Dominic Quinn received an award for their fundraising endeavours. Noel Cairns, James Bell, and Mildred Curry were presented with an award for breaking down barriers in the community.
Rosemary Kelly and David Watson each received an Arts & Entertainment award, while Denise Bryson and Nikita Byrne were recognised in the Youth Initiatives category.
Kieran Heenan and William Lyttle received awards in the Protecting, Promoting and Enhancing Our Heritage and Environment category while Majella Farrell and Leonard Whimpanny were awarded in the Encouraging Healthier Lifestyles and Making Communities Safer categories respectively.
Ryan Feeney won an award in the Young Person of the Year category, supported by The Children and Young People’s Service in the Southern Trust.
The final awards on the night went to those whose achievements had been far-reaching over a long period of time. Receiving awards in the Lifetime Achievement category were Rodney Watson, Maude Harbinson, Joe McKnight and Paul Byrne. Also in this category a posthumous award was made to Mary Verhoeven who died tragically earlier this year.