Belfast Telegraph

Snow Patrol: Northern Ireland has so many unsung heroes

Exclusive: band set to pay tribute at Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards

New Snow Patrol picture
New Snow Patrol picture

By Sarah Henderson

Snow Patrol are to pay tribute to our unsung heroes with a special performance at this year's Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers.

The band will take to the stage of Titanic Belfast on June 5 at the 10th anniversary awards bash, just two weeks after their mammoth gig at Ward Park in Bangor.

Snow Patrol perform at the SSE Arena in Belfast on December 7th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph )
Snow Patrol perform at the SSE Arena in Belfast on December 7th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph )

Frontman Gary Lightbody told us: "We're delighted to be involved in the Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. It's a great cause and rewards the unsung heroes of our wee country.

"People that should be lauded especially in times like these."

He has been a long-term supporter of the event and attended in 2015 with fellow band member Nathan Connolly.

Speaking afterwards, Gary (42) said: "It was a really staggering night, hearing all the stories of those who have struggled and strived through so much adversity but who are happier and more in touch with their humanity than most of us who are blessed with all the gifts we take for granted."

Judging will be taking place in the coming days with actor Ian McElhinney of Game of Thrones and Derry Girls fame on the panel once again alongside local actress Bronagh Waugh. Bronagh, a huge supporter of the event, has appeared in a range of TV shows including Unforgotten, Hollyoaks and The Fall.

The awards ceremony will be hosted by TV presenters Pamela Ballantine and Marc Mallett and will be shown on UTV in a one-hour special days after the June 5 event.

There are a total of 10 categories, including awards for Unsung Hero, Charity Champion, 999 Hero, Spirit of Health, Spirit of Education, Spirit of Youth and Spirit of Sport.

The Northern Ireland-wide search will give recognition to those whose good deeds have previously gone mostly unnoticed.

Sunday Life editor Martin Breen thanked Snow Patrol for taking time out of their touring schedule to perform at the event, saying the finalists will feel honoured by the gesture.

He added: "Snow Patrol have long championed Northern Ireland and its people.

"As one of our greatest musical exports, they really have helped put Northern Ireland on the map.

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol (Photo by Santiago Bluguermann/Getty Images)
Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol (Photo by Santiago Bluguermann/Getty Images)

"The band is famous across the world but even they will admit the real stars on the night will be the finalists who have gone above and beyond to help their local community.

"I look forward to everyone hearing the inspirational stories of the finalists and how they have changed people's lives across Northern Ireland."

Chairman of Specsavers in Northern Ireland, Sean McCauley said: "Specsavers is thrilled to partner the fabulous Spirit of Northern Ireland awards programme which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. Year-on-year the awards throw a spotlight on so many brilliant people and how they individually have made such a huge difference to their local community, town or village and the people who live there.

"We're looking forward to a wonderful awards evening in June marking 10 years of these remarkable community awards."

A limited number of tickets are available for the 2019 Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards for £75 plus VAT and booking fee at