Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Rising stars of 2014 in Northern Ireland

Stars in 2014

Snowboarder Aimee Fuller pictured on Belfast Lough. Pic Red Bull
Snowboarder Aimee Fuller pictured on Belfast Lough. Pic Red Bull

Who's set to hit the headlines next year? Claire Graham profiles some contenders

AIMEE FULLER

Snowboarder Aimee has her eye firmly on one snowy prize in 2014 and that's the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

She's one of Team GB's brightest hopes and as the talented rider takes to the slopes with a snowboard at her feet and adrenalin running through her veins, the former Sullivan Upper student is determined to bring home a medal.

Making a huge impact with her technical tricks with a relaxed, natural style, she has already achieved a string of big results in slope-style contests across the world, including back-to-back wins at the Dachstein Pleasure Jam in 2011 and 2012.

She is totally comfortable going upside down and earlier this year became one of the first women to land a double back flip in competition at the European X games.

Her ambitions don't stop there as she tells the Belfast Telegraph she wants to make the record books with a 'cab double', a spectacular feat never achieved by any woman in the sport.

The 22-year-old who calls Holywood home has two world cups already under her ski-jacket and, as she continues to impress the global scene, Fuller is one to watch this 2014.

SHANE TODD

IF he hasn't made you laugh yet, he will.

Shane Todd has taken the comedy scene by storm and is a rising star on the stand-up circuit.

His reputation precedes him as a funny man and his diary is already full for 2014.

His previous hits include Sketchy Stand-Up Showcase and acting in BBC's Sketchy, Channel 4's Ape and iCandy. Shane's debut hour-long solo show, Anecboats, sold out in Belfast's Black Box on pre-sales alone in late 2013. The show will travel to the rest of the UK and Ireland in 2014.

He is a regular fixture at the biggest comedy clubs and festivals such as Edinburgh Fringe, Kilkenny Festival and Out To Lunch. His massive online following for his character Mike McGoldrick shows the 24-year-old is a modern-day king of comedy.

GAVIN ROBINSON

IT'S full steam ahead for the rising star of the DUP.

Robinson made his name as a progressive Lord Mayor of Belfast.

But just because he hung up his chain in 2013 doesn't mean he isn't setting his sights higher for next year.

With super-council elections just around the corner, the ex-mayor is aiming to increase the vote in east Belfast.

The astute and charismatic councillor has made a name for himself as a leader and a politician.

As DUP leader Peter Robinson comes ever closer to retirement, the east Belfast Stormont seat could be Gavin's for the taking.

Of course, when the Belfast Telegraph asked Gavin how he felt about the prospect of filling the First Minister's constituency shoes, the young Democratic Unionist said he would be keeping his lips firmly tight on that one.

ANNE HENDERSON

IT'S the toughest job in Northern Ireland.

Anne Henderson is set to take on the role of the new chair of the Parades Commission.

With a new team and a new chair, Henderson is to replace Peter Osborne.

She was vice-chair of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive from 2004 to 2012 during which time she was also acting chair.

Henderson is also a non-executive director of the SS Nomadic Trading Company.

In the wake of the Haass talks proposals, agreements and policy on parading and the past, Anne will be chairing a team to implement recommendations from the US diplomat.

PADDY JACKSON

HE'S only 21 but already Jackson has reached his 50th cap for Ulster. And in 2014 he will be hoping to answer Ireland's call on a regular basis.

After making his Ireland debut in this year's Six Nations match against Scotland – selected ahead of Ronan O'Gara – the former Methody student is now second to Johnny Sexton for the number 10 shirt.

The young fly-half has already achieved his half-century of caps for Ulster and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is full of praise for the player. Indeed, we could see Paddy Jackson as a regular in the Irish strip once 2014 kicks off.

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