SCOTT Irwin from Banbridge is one step closer to winning the national Sound Barrier Star Awards, after his story of achievement was chosen as the most inspirational in the region.
The competition, run by Specsavers hearing centres in association with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, recognises the accomplishments or courage of individuals with hearing loss or who are deaf.
Ten regional finalists have now been chosen from all entries received throughout the UK, five of which will be selected to go forward to the grand final in London to compete for the title of Sound Barrier Star of 2012, on 21 August.
Northern Ireland Sound Barrier Star Award finalist, Scott Irwin, comments: ‘I am absolutely delighted and humbled to have been selected as one of the ten regional finalists. It truly is a great honour.
“I hope that this inspires people with any form of hearing impairment to always strive to do whatever they want in life, and to never look back. I am proud of all that I’ve achieved so far and I know that I still have so many hopes and dreams that I’ve yet to fulfil, that I always look forward to the future.’
Scott, a 20-year-old student, who suffers from 75% high frequency hearing loss, is at present studying hard to become a professional Green Keeper. Yet despite his hearing impairment, he has never let this hold him back from doing anything that he sets his mind to. He is a snare drummer in one of Northern Ireland’s premier flute bands and recently stared as ‘Pike’ in a play based on the hit TV show, Dad’s Army.
David Watson, Scott’s nominator for this award and life-long friend says: ‘Scott is such an amazing young man and he never lets his deafness hold him back. I am so proud to have him as a friend and I think he is such an inspiration for so many young people who suffer from hearing loss.’
Dancing on Ice star and Dallas actress Charlene Tilton, who broke her silence in February over her long-term battle with hearing loss, has teamed up with Specsavers Hearing Centres and charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to front the awards and find a star for 2012.
Charlene, 52, says: ‘I’m so privileged to be involved in the Sound Barrier Star Awards. The courage shown by people who are hard of hearing or deaf is incredible, and to be able to help such a brilliant charity while honouring these people is an added bonus.’
‘I’d like to congratulate Scott Irwin on getting this far in the competition and wish him the best of luck in the remaining stages.’
Specsavers has donated £5 to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People for every entry into the Sound Barrier Star Awards. Hearing dogs help transform the lives of their deaf owners by alerting them to sounds that those with good hearing take for granted, allowing them greater independence, confidence and security,
Jenny Smith, recipient of hearing dog Molly and a trustee of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, says: ‘These awards highlight the work of some truly inspirational people, who have achieved great things. We’d like to thank everyone in Northern Ireland who took the time to enter.’