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Thank you! Reaching out to show your gratitude to people

Two little words are all it takes to show your appreciation. Here, 12 people say them to someone special

By Kerry McKittrick and Edwin Gilson

If ever you worry that the world around you is moving too quickly, and that nobody has the time to stop and say a simple 'thank you' anymore, perhaps the grateful souls over the page will lighten your heart a little.

Sometimes it's worth taking the time to acknowledge the generous deeds of others, be it a large or small action.

From an elderly man praising helpful store assistants when buying a mobile phone, to a former cancer patient thankful to her parents for their unstinting care, it's lovely to see genuine appreciation put into words.

A few of our featured people admitted that it was very difficult to properly articulate their gratitude, and some even went so far as apologising for not being thankful enough.

This in itself portrays how overwhelmingly indebted they feel to those in their lives that have offered unconditional support and encouragement during times of hardship.

So, for just a short while, let's herald and celebrate these kindly folk.

Our families, friendship circles and communities are all the better for them.

... to Diabetes UK NI summer camp

Doctor's receptionist Danielle Brown (34), from Millisle, is married to Tom and they have three children, Abbie (10) and twins Hollie and Zarah (8). She says:

"Abbie was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in October last year after having symptoms all summer.

Abbie had been a very active child who was really into sailing but her diagnosis knocked her for six. She had to start injecting herself with insulin four times a day and has to monitor her blood sugar in between times. She didn't feel that she could be as active as she once was.

Abbie's doctor suggested that we get in contact with Diabetes UK NI. Last week Abbie went off to their summer camp programme where she spent three nights in Annalong with other children with diabetes in a programme run by doctors and nurses and volunteers who themselves have diabetes.

She has come back from the camp a different person and the first thing she said to me when she got back into the car after her trip was: 'I don't feel like a freak anymore'.

Since the camp Abbie has got a lot of confidence back and has been out sailing a few times.

I would just like to thank Diabetes UK NI because they have made Abbie realise that there's nothing that she can't do."

... to my invaluable mum, Dee

Aine Kelly (33) lives in Belfast with her children Stella (8), Ava (3) and twins Cora and Charlie (10 months). She works as a gallery assistant at the Linen Museum in Lisburn. She says:

"I want to say thank you to my mum, Dee Kelly. Every time I've had a baby I've had to have Caesarean sections and mum has given up her time to move me in to her house and look after me or she has moved in to my house to help out. She helped me get the whole house ready before each of the kids was born and then waited on me hand and foot afterwards, as because of the surgeries I wasn't able to do very much.

I've always said if I didn't have mum then there's a good chance I would have ended up back in hospital, as Caesarean scars can be very delicate. Even now, mum always checks that there will be someone here at bathtime and bedtime to give me a hand. If there's not then she'll give up her own evening and come down and help me. She can be here until 11pm sometimes. I don't know what I would do without her!"

... to my wonderful mother, Jeannie

Londonderry woman Joan Burke (56) manages a residential home and has one son. She says:

"My mother Jeannie (above) is a wonderful lady. We come from a big family – there are 10 of us.

My father died quite a few years ago and although we were all grown up, my mother has been great ever since.

She spends her time now looking after her grandchildren and knitting. She buys the best wool and knits beautiful baby cardigans that all get sent out to Romania. She's a great person who has always been there for all of us."

... to the most supportive dad ever

Colette Weston (42) is a nurse and lives in Belfast with her children, Georgia (13) and Jamie (9) and her dad, Jack Weston. She says:

"After my marriage broke up in 2011 – just a year after my mother had passed away from cancer – dad decided that he would devote the rest of his days to looking after me and supporting me with the children.

No matter what I've had to do, he's helped out. On my darkest days when I could do nothing but cry, he's been there for me. I'm waiting to buy another house at the moment and in the meantime we've moved in with dad.

He's spent hours in the garden planting flowers for me because he knows I love them. He's even paid for my daughter and I to go on holiday because he decided I needed a break.

I want to say thank you to my dad for giving us a home and for being my salvation. I've loved spending extra time with him – he's just fantastic."

... to my childhood pal

Rosemary Robinson (60) is originally from Belfast but lives in Hong Kong and runs a sales training business. She says:

"I met my friend Joan Rogan on my first day at St Dominic's Grammar School in Belfast. We were in the same class and I turned to her and asked her to wash my lunch flask. She told me to wash it myself and we've been friends ever since.

I've been in Hong Kong for 30 years now and I land in on Joan twice a year for five weeks. She's one of those friends who would do anything for you. Her family are my family and she's always there – if I rang her up and told her that I had a problem she would be on the next flight from Belfast.

I just want to say thank you to her for the friendship over all of these years."

... to nurses who helped my baby

Cathy Martin (40) runs the public relations agency CMPR. She lives in Helen's Bay with her husband Julian and their daughter Valentina (2). She says:

"I went into labour prematurely in January 2012. Because I was only 31 weeks pregnant I was sent down to Dublin by ambulance as it was the only place that had a special incubator in the island of Ireland and Scotland.

I want to say thank you to everyone who helped. From the neo-natal nurses in the Royal Maternity hospital to the midwife who accompanied me in the ambulance and the staff in Dublin.

Two days after Valentina was born we were sent to the Ulster Hospital where she stayed for a month and I'm still friends with two of the nurses.

When Valentina was born she was teeny we had to be so delicate with her and they helped show me how to look after her."

... to parents who helped me heal

Rosie Griffin (38) is a civil engineer from Belfast. She says:

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2010, which meant I was off work for nine months.

I live on my own, so I wasn't really able to take care of myself during treatment. My parents, Hugh and Celine, moved me from my house in Belfast back to the family home to Bellaghy.

They looked after me from morning to night, never leaving my side as long as I needed them. They did all the cooking and clearing up for me, and took care of everything.

They locked up the house at night and made sure everything was secure, and they drove me everywhere I needed to go. In emergencies they took me to the hospital. They never let me down.

I had my ovaries removed as part of the treatment, and they took care of me again after that.

They've just been brilliant, and really supportive in every single way. I can't ever say thank you enough to them for that.

No matter how much I try, I'd always feel like I still couldn't find the right words. As a parent, you don't expect your 34-year-old daughter to come home and have to be waited on hand and foot."

... to a great bunch of kids

Philip Crawford (52) is creative learning co-ordinator at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. He says:

"We've just had four weeks of young people in the Lyric doing drama workshops as part of the theatre's 2014 Summer School, among other things, and we just wanted to thank them.

We've had more than 100 young people coming into the Lyric itself, but we also ran a course at Queen's University which was well attended.

It's amazing for sixth formers to gain access to two major institutions in the city, and we're very grateful to those places for working with us.

It's a really nice example of a couple of institutions working together to give young people an opportunity.

I also want to thank Edwards and Company solicitors in Belfast who very kindly sponsored the summer school, and allowed me to set up bursary places on the course for kids that couldn't afford to come otherwise.

We could do a massive thank you list, but we didn't want to use up your whole page!"

... to MacMillan cancer nurses

Martin McGonagle (57), a mailing assistant from Belfast, is married to Mairead and has two sons, Kevin (30) and Phillip (27). He says:

"Outside of family and friends, who I'm obviously grateful to, the people I'm most thankful to for helping my recovery from cancer of the oesophagus last year are the MacMillan specialist nurses.

They took care of everything, and always offered a psychological boost as well as a listening ear. They were fantastic.

Action Cancer have been brilliant too, with their complementary services and therapies.

They also run a great positive thinking programme. That was all very helpful, and offered a way forward after the trauma of the whole experience. I was off work for a year exactly. The medical people at the hospital were incredible, their support was first-class and they're very special people. I met many patients, too, some a lot worse off than me. Quite often you think you're really bad until you meet other people, but actually I found them all to be very chipper.

The patients were very helpful just because they talked to one another, and talked to me. It's quite encouraging and inspiring and gives you a sense of hope.

I'm so grateful towards so many people that I'm afraid I've left some people out! I'm a very lucky and thankful man."

... to the best fiance and boss

Nikki Whellans (32) is an administrator for Business In The Community. She lives in Newtownabbey with her fiance Neal Bould. She says:

"I want to say thank you to my fiance Neal and my boss, Diana Muir. Over the last 18 months I've had a very difficult time of things and my grandfather recently passed away. Both Neal and Diana have been absolute superstars.

Neal has always shown me that things will get better and what it's like to be truly loved by someone for who I am, inside out.

Diana might be my boss but she has acted like a friend from day one. She's been an amazing support and is always there for me with advice and a cuddle if I need it. Both of these people have made me into who I am now, just because of their support and love."

... to our lovely mum and dad

Ruth McMillan (25) is a teacher and lives in Saintfield. She has a twin sister, Rachael, and an older sister Hannah (26). She says:

"My sisters and I all want to say thank you to our parents, Robert and Heather McMillan. They've been with all of us through everything.

In the last year I moved to university in England and back again and both of my sisters needed surgery and recuperation from hockey injuries.

My parents have always been there for anything we've needed. Recently our grandfather passed away – it was the first time any of us experienced a death in the family – and our parents really helped us through it."

... to very patient shop assistants

Retired development engineer Ian Murray (80) lives in Londonderry, with his wife Miriam (67), a retired nurse. Ian has two daughters from a previous marriage, Gemma (45) and Ali (42), and three grandchildren. She says:

"We went to Maplin's in Coleraine recently because Ian wanted to buy a mobile phone. With Ian being 80, it's hard for him to keep up with this modern technology.

Usually in shops you get a quick seller who really doesn't have the time or patience to deal with you, but the man helping him in Maplin's was really helpful. Then when Ian ran into a few troubles with his device, he met another member of staff who spent ages teaching him how to work it.

They were just so generous with their time, and respectful. Ian wears a hearing aid too, and they spoke to him clearly in a way he would understand.

He was filled with enthusiasm for young people after that, and very grateful."

Songs that say it all

Fatboy Slim – Praise You

One of Norman Cook's most well-known singles, Praise You sees the electronic musician thank a partner for sticking with him 'through the hard times and the good'.

Dido – Thank You

Reportedly English popstar Dido penned this 2000 single about her then boyfriend, lawyer Bob Page.

Alanis Morissette – Thank U

Canadian Morissette wrote this track in 1996 after returning from a lengthy journey through India with her mother and friends

Thank You For The Music – ABBA

An uplifting thank you note to music itself, the tune has become one of ABBA's best-loved tracks

Thank You For Being A Friend – Andrew Gold

Gold's song was later re-recorded by Cynthia Fee and became the theme tune to the TV programme The Golden Girls

Thank You – Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z thanks his many fans for his incredibly successful career

Talking Heads – Thank You For Sending Me An Angel

David Byrne, frontman of the New York group, is thankful for finding a like-minded partner in this song

Gratitude – Earth, Wind and Fire

This 1975 track by the soul supergroup is concerned with being thankful for what you have, as well as a celebration of free love

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