Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

How fitting that McCoy makes history on our day of inspiration

Jockey Tony McCoy is a phenomenon. He just doesn't set records in his sport, he destroys them. He has been champion jumps jockey for 18 years in a row, has now ridden 4,000 winners, and has ridden more winners in a season than any other jockey, even those racing on the flat.

Those achievements are so incredible that he is indisputably the greatest ever performer in his chosen sport.

When he was a young man setting out on his career he idolised another Northern Ireland jockey Richard Dunwoody, who ended up riding the second greatest number of winners at 1,699.

Now McCoy, universally known as AP, will be the inspiration for countless other young men wanting to follow him in the sport of kings.

It is appropriate that we should be celebrating his achievements today when this newspaper has devoted many of its pages to bringing you stories of other inspirational people.

They are not as well known as McCoy, but they share his drive, his ability to overcome all obstacles and his desire to be the best he can. And they do it with the same modesty that he has shown throughout his career.

Often in life all we seem to hear are tales of gloom or doom, of man's inhumanity to man or of thuggish elements determined to impose their nihilistic tendencies on others.

Yet as our pages today show the world is full of everyday heroes.

They are people like David Montgomery who faced the loss from cancer of his young wife but who was determined to do something positive to commemorate her life. He has raised £55,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI to aid the charity's research work.

Or they are people like Terry Wallace whose life was spiralling out of control due to his addiction to legal highs which saw him end up in prison. Yet he was determined to kick the habit, turn his life around and make something of himself.

In his way he is as inspirational as any world leader, showing his peers that nothing is impossible with the right mindset.

Read the many other stories in this newspaper today and you will realise that some of the worries we carry around with us daily are not really that important. They are at worst transient concerns which can be easily rectified or even sort themselves out.

How would we have reacted if faced with a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, or if we lost someone close to us, or we faced a crippling addiction? Would we have had the mental strength to face our struggles and try to find a positive outcome? Could we be inspirations to others?

Northern Ireland is often portrayed negatively in the media, yet it is full of people of whom we should be very proud. We are delighted to highlight some of them, but there are hundreds more like them, some in your street and some reading this newspaper today.

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