Belfast Telegraph

Conor's courage an inspiration

By John McGurk

Brave Conor Bowman, who saved his granny's life, is the latest heat winner in the Flybe/Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland awards.

The caring Limavady lad topped our phone poll in Week Seven of our search for someone who epitomises the good-hearted work, bravery and inspirational acts of men, women and children around our province.

It was the quick thinking of compassionate Conor, who lives with mild learning disabilities, which helped to save the life of his ?nana? Elizabeth Boyd.

Last February the pensioner suffered a serious brain haemorrhage at home.

But the Rossmar Special School pupil was on hand to call 999 straight away.

And the 14-year-old also remembered the advice of his family, if his beloved gran fell ill, to carefully protect her head from injury until the emergency services arrived.

His proud mum, Zoe and aunt, Leah are convinced that their mum would not be alive today, if it had not been for Conor?s actions.

When told that inspirational Conor had topped the latest Spirit of Northern Ireland poll, mum Zoe screamed with excited delight.

Zoe said: ?I am so, so happy. It is fantastic news. Being nominated has been brilliant for him ? such a confidence booster.

?He was all chuffed when he saw himself in Sunday Life. He couldn?t believe that it was himself in the paper!?

Zoe added that her mum Elizabeth is ?keeping well? thanks to Conor?s actions and will return to hospital next month for a procedure to ?recoil? her brain aneurysm and insert a stent.

As the latest Spirit of Northern Ireland heat winner, Conor will feature on the UTV Life show this week ? as will all of our semi-finalists.

Due to the overwhelming number of Spirit of Northern Ireland entries already received by Sunday Life, no more nominations are being accepted.

A Sunday Life panel is choosing the remaining nominees whose stories will feature in the paper. Due to the huge volume of entries, only the stories of 40 nominees can be published.

Each week we feature four unsung heroes with readers voting for the person who best represents the Spirit of Northern Ireland in 2008.

The phone lines are now open for you to vote for your favourite nominee until midnight on Tuesday.

Every Sunday we will reveal who topped the phone poll and then open the lines again for the next four nominees. The top ten nominees featured over these weeks then go forward to a semi-final, along with the ten most popular, as voted for by Sunday Life readers.

Out of these top 20 nominees the public will be asked to vote for their final top ten.

The Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards' top ten will appear at a fantastic final, hosted by UTV?s Julian Simmons and a top soap star, at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast on January 20.

A panel of judges will then choose the Flybe/Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Award winner, who will receive a Peugeot 107 car as their prize.

The person who nominated the winner will win a pair of Flybe flight tickets.