Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Community worker named ‘Spirit of Northern Ireland’

(L-r) Spirit of NI award-winner Tommy Wilson, Andrea Hayes of Flybe, and Flybe flight attendant Laura McKelvey
Aurora PA/Spirit of NI - Pictured Spirit of NI Highly commended award winner Tommy Wilson, Andrea Hayes (General Manager Market Development for Flybe), Laura McKelvey Flybe flight attendant.....Flybe & Sunday Life joined forces with UTV in September 2008 to launch a search for Northern Ireland's unsung heroes. They were looking for extraordinary people that do extraordinary things. Readers could nominate the person they believed show Northern Ireland's spirit of compassion, neighborliness, charity, enterprise, courage and devotion. Each week four people were nominated in the Sunday Life and one lucky person winning that weeks heat by phone-in and going through to the final. A second round of phone-in heats gave us 10 Highly Commended people, with another 10 finalists leading to one lucky winner. The lucky winner will be given the keys to a new Peugeot 107 to recognize the contribution they have given to others. The awards are to recognize those who have not been officially acclaimed for their good deeds in helping others - people who's uplifting stories of selfless acts that captures the Spirit of Northern Ireland 2008.....Picture date Tuesday 20th of January 2009, by Paul Moane/AuroraPA. Pictures taken in the Ramada Hotel, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast.

Tommy Wilson of the Village Housing Focus Group was one of three south Belfast community workers awarded for their tireless dedication to their areas at the inaugural Flybe Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards, in association with UTV.

Mr Wilson, from the Ebor Street area of the Village, has been a voluntary community worker in the area since he was 13, picked up the highly commended award at the glitzy gala ceremony held at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast last week.

“I’m over the moon about the award and grateful to the people who nominated me,” said Mr Wilson.

“I really want to see the Village area built up into a modern-day centre with a good community.”

Other award-winners included south Belfast native Eileen Calder

for her work with the Rape Crisis Centre, and Maria Smylie for her work with Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the ceremony, Andrea Hayes of award sponsors Flybe, said: “On behalf of all involved in the event, I warmly congratulate all the finalists and their valuable contribution to the Northern Ireland community.”

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