Your chance to vote for our Person to be Proud Of

THIS week brings your chance to vote for our ‘Person to be Proud of’.

There are four nominees to vote for and we have outlined their touching stories below.

All you have to do is vote for your favourite and in this case you can vote early and vote often.

Local natural gas supplier, Firmus Energy, is supporting the competition.

The company has recently connected its 50,000th customer in Northern Ireland to the lower-cost, convenient fuel.

As General Manager Michael Scott explained, Firmus Energy prides itself on its excellent customer service record and, with 90 team members in its Antrim headquarters, all employees are trained to the highest standards.

“Our employees work together very well to help each other, much like people living alongside each other in a community.,” said Mr. Scott. “We know that some go well beyond what is expected of them and in firmus energy, we recognise this.

“We are delighted to support this competition, acknowledging the unsung heroes across Northern Ireland for whom helping others is a way of life.

“This competition aims to recognise just some of those individuals and highlight how their selfless actions benefit other local people.

He added, “As we extend our gas network even further, such as to Bushmills, Bessbrook and Ballyclare, more and more people are opting to switch to natural gas.

“As well as being around 31% cheaper than home heating oil natural gas can contribute to cleaner air for the area as it is the most environmentally-friendly fossil fuel emitting less carbon emissions into the atmosphere than other fuel alternatives.”

Clint Aiken, Regional Editor of the ‘Leader’ commented: “We are delighted to have the backing of Firmus Energy for this competition to celebrate the achievements of people in the Lisburn area.

“We have received some tremendous nominations and look forward to finding out who is Lisburn’s Person To Be Proud Of!”

Firmus Energy owns and is responsible for operating the natural gas pipeline outside f greater Belfast.

The company has connected and provides natural gas to more than 17,000 customers in its network area across Northern Ireland and also supplies over 33,000 customers in the greater Belfast area.

To date, firmus energy has invested more than £72 million in the natural gas infrastructure in NI and is regularly applies to the regulator to extend the pipeline to bring the benefits of natural gas to thousands more homes and businesses each year.

To find out more about how to switch to natural gas, visit www.firmusenergy.co.uk or call 0845 032 4567.

To vote for your favourite, simply text DRL (space) PROUD (space) followed by the two digit number of your choice from the list of finalists printed and send to 61500 (e.g. DRL PROUD 01 then send to 61500)

Standard JP competition terms and conditions apply. These can be found at http://www.johnstonpress.co.uk/jpplc/competition/ or contact the Promotions team at 2 Esky Drive, Carn,BT63 5YY. Texts cost 25p plus your usual network rate. The winner will be the finalist who receives the greatest number of votes. The judge’s decision is final. Prize is as stated, no cash alternatives. Lines close at 12 noon Wednesday 3 rd April 2013. Please note, if you should enter after the closing date, your vote will not be counted but you may still be charged. By supplying your telephone number you’re happy to receive SMS messages from Johnston Press and its approved business partners. Johnston Press (or via its agents) and its business partners may contact you about new promotions, products and services. Please add the word STOP at the end of your message if you do not wish to receive these. For quality and training purposes we may monitor communications. SMS service is provided by Velti DR Ltd SE1 8ND - 020 7633 5000.

01 - Kelly McClimond - THE late Kelly McClimond went out of her way to help other cancer patients.

Kelly, who died earlier this month, was a bright and bubbly person, who wanted to get things done.”

Kelly became Secretary of the Banbridge Macmillan Committee in 2007. She came up with good ideas. She had gone through breast cancer in 2005 and survived leukaemia at 11, so she knew what it was all about.

She just wanted to help and went out of her way to help other cancer patients and their families. She was a good listener and tried to figure out ways to get any assistance.

Anything she set out to do, she just did it. She really got things done.

She was a good organiser and motivator and encouraged people to get involved in street collections, whether they were in Banbridge or Lisburn. She raised in the region of £240,000 throughout the years.

02 - NITA REID - AN Annaclone woman has been nominated for this year’s ‘Person to be proud of’ title.

Nita Reid has fostered 56 children as well as raising five adopted children with her husband Kenny.

When discovering she had been nominated Nita was surprised. “I am surprised, but delighted,” she said.

It was when she was working with her sister in a playgroup that Nita first became interested in fostering and soon after she had completed her training, became a foster carer, something which she did for 15 years.

Nina has now retired from fostering but is enjoying spending time caring for her family.

She said: “Fostering is hard but rewarding and it’s lovely when the children come back to visit us and they have grown up and even have children of their own.”

03 - PETER BRANKER - ONE of the district’s most prolific charity workers, Peter Branker has been nominated for the Star’s ‘Person to be proud of’ title.

Having suffered from - and recovered from - three different types of cancer on three separate occasions, he now spends a large chunk of his life discussing the disease with those going through the cancer ‘journey’ for the first time.

Now aged 41, he has been battling the disease since he was a teenager and although he has survived, the disease left him with one ‘seeing’ eye and one ‘real’ leg following necessarily invasive surgery.

He has now embarked on a counselling course and also a Macmillan Cancer Care course which covers a variety of skills in communication, counselling and loss and bereavement.

In between times, he works as a leader at Dromore Youth Club and helps out with groups including Macmillan Cancer Care, Dromore-based community charity, ‘Via Wings’ and Dromore in Action. He also takes a leading role in Ballymacormack Rural Development Association, Cancer Research ‘Relay for Life’ event and the Alzheimer’s Society.

04 - NAN McCAW - THE mother of 41-year-old Kelly McClimond who helped raise £200,000 for Macmillan and who sadly lost her battle with cancer recently has been nominated for the ‘Person to be Proud Of’ competition.

Nan McCaw, who turns 70 next month, had been a carer for most of her daughter’s life was described by her son Jason as ‘an unsung hero.’

Jason, said that his mother had been a nurse who administered medication, tablets or injections, dedicated most of her time to Kelly’s life.

He said. “My mother helped Kelly during her illness and is a very special person who helped my sister throughout her life,

“Kelly would often have said that she would not have had the life she had without the help of my mum. My mum is unreal. Like my sister my mother is truly an unsung hero. She was always there for my sister.”

Kelly’s first battle with cancer came when she was just 11 years of age when she was diagnosed with leukaemia.