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Join our campaign to honour the unsung heroes who help make life better

Shining and inspirational examples of people who are making a positive impact on the lives of others are emerging from across Northern Ireland.

Our province-wide search for the unsung heroes through the Belfast Telegraph Making The Difference Awards, in association with Spar, has uncovered uplifting stories.

Readers have nominated projects, schools, neighbours and volunteers who have proven invaluable in communities.

Among the nominations this month is Lily Beattie from north Belfast who has “a heart of gold” when it comes to being neighbourly.

The pensioner was nominated by Donna Cosby who praised her for supporting her friends and those who live next door.

“Lily often helps other neighbours who on occasion would call to her door asking for help or favours,” she said.

“Always willing to help and ‘give a listening ear’, Lily would be widely known as someone in the community who selflessly gives her time to others without any gain,” she said.

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The Belfast Hospital School, which has educated sick children for 40 years, also received a nomination.

Past pupil Hayley McKee (24) sat her GCSE exams while a patient after suffering two strokes.

“I found the teachers to be brilliant and ever so helpful throughout everything that my illness threw at me, which was intense,” she said.

“Attending Belfast Hospital School was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

“I would just like to nominate them as a way of saying thank you.”

And Ardvarna Crescent in east Belfast received a nomination for Best Street.

Alliance councillor Laura McNamee, who put forward the nomination, said: “I can see that there is an excellent sense of community spirit and that the residents of Ardvarna Crescent are dedicated to helping one another and making improvements to the neighbourhood to be enjoyed by everyone.”

These individuals, streets and projects are just some examples of the unsung heroes we want to celebrate and we want you to tell us about.

Belfast Telegraph readers will be able to do this by nominating that person, group or local business in one of 11 categories which includes Best School, Spirit of the Youth and Carer in the Community.

Three finalists will then be chosen from each and a winner selected by our judging panel.

The overall winner will then be chosen.

The awards will be presented at a fantastic gala night in the Grand Opera House on March 9, 2011.

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