Belfast Telegraph

Belfast's inspiring older volunteers celebrated at City Hall awards bash

Lord Mayor John Finucane and Siobhan Toland of Belfast City Council with Colin Flinn, winner of the Marie Mathews Participation Award at this year’s Age-friendly Older Volunteer of the Year Awards at Belfast City Hall
Lord Mayor John Finucane and Siobhan Toland of Belfast City Council with Colin Flinn, winner of the Marie Mathews Participation Award at this year’s Age-friendly Older Volunteer of the Year Awards at Belfast City Hall
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Belfast's older volunteers were celebrated yesterday for their "invaluable" contribution to the city.

From providing a friendly face for those living with isolation to offering a warm welcome to visitor attractions and more, the Age-friendly Older Volunteer of the Year Awards 2019 championed those over 60 going the extra mile.

The awards were presented at Belfast City Hall by Lord Mayor John Finucane, who said the volunteers were an inspiration to the younger generation.

"Volunteers play such a vital role in the success of our city and I'm delighted to join in today's celebrations to give proper recognition to the great work of our older volunteers," he said.

"It's heart-warming to hear the stories of the positive impact they are having in organisations and communities right across Belfast.

"Through their continued selfless acts, they're providing a shining example to our younger people. I want to congratulate all of our award winners and nominees and encourage them to continue with their great work."

Among the winners was Frankie Corr, who was named as the 2019 Older Volunteer of the Year for his befriending work.

Nominator Sharon Quinn from Lighthouse praised his "selfless" work as an example to others.

"Frankie is a friendly, smiling face to those going through immense trauma in their lives," she said. "A compassionate listening ear for those who just need to talk and be understood, and an empathetic survivor who has already gone through the worst that life could throw at him and come out the other side, selflessly supporting others."

Colin Flinn won the Marie Mathews Participation Award for his work with Age NI.

Age NI's chief executive Linda Robinson said he was one of their most prolific volunteers and that he ensured the voice of older people was "highly respected and valued".

Lyn Cooke won the Contribution to City Life Award for volunteering on HMS Caroline as part of the visitor experience team.

Taking home the team award were the Volunteer Now Event Volunteers, who support events showcasing Belfast to tourists and locals.

Nominator Lauren Harrison called them "a wonderful advertisement for volunteering", who encouraged more people to give back to their communities through their commitment.

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