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Spirit of N. Ireland Awards

Search for NI's unsung heroes 2013

Sunday Life Editor Martin Breen and Pamela Ballantine launch the Sunday Life and Specsavers Spirit Of Northern Ireland Awards at the Peace bridge Derry.
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Is there an unsung hero in your life or community who deserves recognition in the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers?

We have joined forces with Specsavers to launch this year's search for who you think best captures the Spirit of Northern Ireland in 2013.

The finalists will be honoured at a gala ceremony later this year which will again be broadcast on UTV. Last year's ceremony attracted a TV audience of some 200,000 people across the country.

We want your nominations for who you think best captures the Spirit of Northern Ireland in 2013, by selflessly serving others and being an inspiration to us all.

The unique Northern Ireland-wide search will give recognition to those whose good deeds have previously gone mostly unnoticed.

The grand final for the Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers will take place on Friday, June 14 at the luxurious five-star Culloden Estate & Spa resort in Holywood.

And the nominees and guests will be in for a real treat as we have secured local band Flash Harry as the star attraction and headline performer to close the awards. The tribute act will bring the music of Queen to life at the end of the show.

Entertainment will also be provided during the event by local comedian John Linehan / AKA May McFetridge.

Hosting the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers this year will be UTV/U105’s Frank Mitchell and Pamela Ballentine, and just like previous years the audience will be filled with many local celebrities supporting the event and eager to hear the incredible stories behind the finalists.

Sunday Life and Specsavers are looking for ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to help others — people whose uplifting stories of selfless acts will touch the hearts of all who read them.

Whether for demonstrating a spirit of compassion, neighbourliness, charity, enterprise, courage or devotion, all nominations are welcome. The winner of the overall Spirit of Northern Ireland Award will receive a pair of flights to New York courtesy of our friends at American Holidays.

All those who submit nominations will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a £150 eyecare voucher and a VIP experience at the awards, including an overnight stay at the Culloden, courtesy of Specsavers.

There are four awards in total: the Specsavers Overcoming Adversity Award, the Sunday Life Unsung Hero Award, the U105 Young Persons Award and the overall Spirit of Northern Ireland Award.

Five finalists from each of the three categories will feature in Sunday Life as well as on UTV and on U105.8FM radio station. One of the finalists, chosen by a judging panel from Sunday Life,

Specsavers and UTV/U105.8FM, will also be named as the Spirit of Northern Ireland winner of 2013.

You can enter using this form or by emailing your nomination to detailing in 50 to 100 words why you think your nominee is worthy of a Spirit of Northern Ireland Award.

  • The Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards grand final will be at held at the Culloden Estate and Spa on Friday, June 14. All the finalists will be invited to the glittering awards ceremony, which will include celebrity guests and be shown on UTV, headline performers Flash Harry and May McFettridge and features UTV stars Frank Mitchell and Pamela Ballentine as MCs on the night.

Tickets for the gala awards ceremony cost £60, which includes dinner, table wine and the top class entertainment, can be purchased from JPR, Sylvan House, 232-240, Belmont Office Park, Belfast, BT4 2AW; by phone at 028 9076 0066 or e-mailing:

Sunday Life Unsung Hero

The name of this award says it all — someone whose great deed or deeds have hitherto gone unnoticed.

They will have made a major contribution to your life or to your community. They really will be an ordinary person who has done an extraordinary thing just like last year’s winner, Fermanagh nurse Maeve McGoldrick.

Brave Maeve, 25, gave up her career as a nurse here to move to Haiti and put herself at great personal risk to help people there whose lives have been devastated by a massive earthquake.

Specsavers Overcoming Adversity

This award recognises those who have overcome huge personal challenges, whether it is dealing with illness or disability or overcoming problems.

One man who did just this was last year’s winner, James Baker. Despite enduring a lifetime of serious illness and disability, the 23-year-old north Belfast man has become a talented artist and auctioned off paintings for charities across Northern Ireland.

 U105 Young Persons Award

This award honours young people (under the age of 18) for special achievements.

This honour was awarded last year to the little O’Brien girls from Kesh in Co Fermanagh — Riona, 12, Evie, 10 and Tiana, eight. The “wee stars” were nominated by seriously ill mum Anita after what she described as the “three years of pure hell” after the girls lost their loving firefighter dad Paul in a tragic road accident in 2009 and just three months later had to face the nightmare of her shock diagnosis with an incurable cancer.

Overall spirit of Northern Ireland

This is awarded by the judges to the person who they feels best represents the Spirit of Northern Ireland by selflessly serving others and being an inspiration to us all. Last year’s winner was south Belfast mum Paula Delaney who has kept her five-year-old son Emmet’s spirit alive by raising £30,000 for charity, within just months of his death in a tragic accident at his home.

Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards terms and conditions

1. No Independent News & Media, Specsavers or UTV employees or their families may enter.

2. A Sunday Life editorial panel will choose the nominees to feature in the paper. A total of 15 finalists, five for each of the three categories, will be chosen by a team of judges from Sunday Life, Specsavers and UTV. This panel will also choose the overall winner.

3. The judges decisions are final and binding in all respects on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.

4. Nominees must live or work in Northern Ireland or have done so in recent past.

5. Nominees can only feature in the newspaper if they agree to publicity and have their photograph taken for publication by Sunday Life. They must also agree to appear on UTV and U105 if they are selected for the final.

6. This competition does not and is not intended to constitute a legal relationship between entrants and Independent News & Media.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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Sunday Life Editor Martin Breen and Pamela Ballantine launch the Sunday Life and Specsavers Spirit Of Northern Ireland Awards at the Peace bridge Derry.