The generosity and tireless efforts of a number of volunteers from Northern Ireland has been recognised at a special awards ceremony in London last night.
Marie Curie Cancer Care has honoured four groups and one individual for their superb fundraising efforts which have helped the charity provide support and care to those in need.
More than 500 people from Northern Ireland give up their spare time each year to help the cancer charity in a variety of ways.
One of those individuals, whose remarkable efforts has raised more than £250,000 over the past eight years, is the BBC’s Hugo Duncan.
The Radio Ulster DJ, along with hotelier Joe Mahon and trucker George Gordon, received the Exceptional Fundraising Group award for their annual truck convoy in Irvinestown, which has netted more than a quarter of a million pounds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
And while the popular radio man is pleased with the award, he said the recognition should go to the staff at Marie Curie Cancer Care who provide “invaluable end- of-life care to hundreds of people across Northern Ireland”.
“George, Joe and I have had a fantastic time over the past eight years and have really enjoyed working with truckers across Northern Ireland and the local communities in and around Irvinestown to make the convoy a success — without them the event would not exist,” he said.
“However, the real award should go to the Marie Curie Nurses and Marie Curie Cancer Care staff who provide invaluable end- of-life care to hundreds of people across Northern Ireland.”
Other extraordinary volunteers to be acknowledged at the prestigious awards include John Gourley, Helen Laird and Clare Stewart from the Belfast Hospice Bereavement Volunteers and May McGuiggan, Harriet Fraser and Carol Lynch from the Belfast Hospice Complementary Therapy Team. Both groups received the Outstanding Contribution — Volunteering with Patients award.
The Dunmurry Shop Volunteers were awarded the Outstanding Contribution – Shop Team award while Joseph Henderson, who is in his late 70s received the Exceptional Fundraising Volunteer award for his efforts over the past five years.
In 2003 Mr Henderson began helping with the local street collections and then began his own private collections in markets, public houses and nightclubs. Since October 2003 he managed to raise £47,667.50.