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Thomas Devlin Fund marks 10 years with bursaries for 10 teens

By Ann W Schmidt

Published 08/09/2016

Jamie Phillips, Ruairi Richman, Connor Dudley-Fergus, Darrell Smith, Alana Harron, Maeve Bradley and Niamh Doherty with their awards
Jamie Phillips, Ruairi Richman, Connor Dudley-Fergus, Darrell Smith, Alana Harron, Maeve Bradley and Niamh Doherty with their awards
Dan Gordon and Donna Traynor present an award to Beth McNally
Dan and Donna with Thomas Devlin's parents Penny Holloway and Jim Devlin
Thomas Devlin, who was murdered in 2006

Ten young people formally received awards last night from a fund set up in memory of a murdered Belfast teenager.

A decade after the killing, which shocked Northern Ireland, Thomas Devlin's mother said her son's "fitting" legacy is giving opportunities to talented young people.

The 10th anniversary ceremony was hosted by Donna Traynor and Dan Gordon at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners' Office.

The teenagers were awarded bursaries of up to £1,750 each to help them pursue educational opportunities and careers in creative industries including the performing arts and music.

Aoibheann Henry from Belfast was one of the recipients. She received her bursary over the summer and used it to attend the Titanic Creative Management Prosthetic Make-up Summer School.

"I plan to use the skills I have learned to help out with school productions and the New Lodge Arts (group)," she said.

"Some day I'd love to get involved in creative writing and film directing.

"Getting the bursary just makes it seem so much more possible."

The other award recipients were Zoe Kyte, Jamie Phillips, Ruairi Richman, Connor Dudley-Fergus, Maeve Bradley, Darrell Smith, Niamh Doherty, Alana Harron and Beth McNally.

The Thomas Devlin Fund also announced the creation of a one-off Community Arts Project Fund.

In the past, bursaries were only available to individuals, but in recognition of the 10-year anniversary, £3,000 was raised for community organisations that work with young people to develop their skills and interest in creative fields.

The fund was founded by Thomas Devlin's parents, Penny Holloway and Jim Devlin, with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland in 2006.

They established the body after Thomas was killed at the age of 15 in 2005. The organisation is devoted to helping young people achieve their dreams of going into creative fields.

Speaking at the ceremony last night, Penny Holloway said the fund was "a fitting tribute to the life of Thomas".

The last 10 years have seen 58 teenagers helped by bursaries, many of whom attended the event. The body has awarded a total of more than £70,000.

Belfast Telegraph

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