Belfast Telegraph

Spirit of NI Awards: Co Down man with locked-in syndrome gives thank-you message with his eyes as brother invited to sing by Louis Walsh

Claire Williamson

By Claire Williamson

This is the incredible moment when a Co Down man with locked-in syndrome communicates a thank-you message with his eyes after his brother is invited to sing at the Spirit of NI awards by Louis Walsh.

The brothers became an internet sensation after the powerful YouTube video of Saintfield student Mark McMullan singing Bring Him Home from the musical Les Miserables to his disabled brother Declan went viral with hundreds of thousands of people across the world watching it.

Mark's brother Declan takes great comfort in hearing his voice.

Now Mark has been invited to perform at the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland awards - after X Factor's  Louis Walsh who is on the judging panel - heard their dad John is a finalist in the Unsung Hero category.

>>>Scroll down for Mark's incredible tribute<<<

In March 2012 a tragic heart attack left 22-year-old Declan McMullan with locked-in syndrome - he can't speak but as can be seen in the video he can communicate with his eyes.

The finalists will be honoured at a gala ceremony on Friday June 12 at the five-star Culloden Estate & Spa resort in Holywood, which will be broadcast on UTV.

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

Hosting the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers this year will be UTV/U105's Frank Mitchell and Pamela Ballantine, and just like previous years the audience will be filled with many local celebrities supporting the event and eager to hear the incredible stories behind the finalists.

Tickets cost £60 each, which includes a four-course meal, table wine and top-class entertainment. To book tel: 028 90760066 or email


Further reading:

Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards 2015: Meet our five Unsung Heroes

The key of life: We meet Mark and his brother Declan