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Armagh widower's fundraising efforts for cancer charity hailed by PM May

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Barry Williamson with daughter Mya and son Rhys

Barry Williamson with daughter Mya and son Rhys

Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May

PA

Alison Williamson

Alison Williamson

Barry Williamson with daughter Mya and son Rhys

A Co Armagh father-of-two who lost his wife to a rare form of blood cancer over two years ago says he is "truly humbled" to receive a prestigious award from the Prime Minister.

Barry Williamson (35) is the latest recipient of the Point of Light award in recognition of his fundraising for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Northern Ireland (L&L NI), a charity that provided vital support for his wife Alison when she was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma.

Alison, who worked as a classroom assistant in Tandragee Primary School, was a devoted wife and mum to the couple's two children Mya and Rhys.

She passed away in May 2016 aged 31, just nine months after her diagnosis.

Barry was inspired by Alison's courage to do something to keep her memory alive and has been fundraising tirelessly for Belfast-based L&L NI.

Through a series of endurance mountaineering challenges, he has raised over £120,000 for the charity to fund the Alison Williamson PhD scholarship into blood cancer research at Queen's University Belfast.

In a personal letter to Barry, Theresa May said he "should feel incredibly proud" of both raising awareness of and helping to advance important research into blood cancer.

"Your charitable work is a remarkable tribute to the memory of your wife Alison and is making a real difference to patients undergoing treatment," the Prime Minister added.

Barry said: "I am truly humbled and honoured to receive this award but it is (because of) the generosity of the people that I accept this on their behalf.

"There are so many like me that have been met with adversity in their lives."

Joanne Badger from L&L NI added: "Barry is an inspiration to many of our supporters facing tough times, showing that something positive can come from the most difficult periods in life."

Belfast Telegraph