Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Cherith's a true inspiration

Youth worker’s tireless efforts are rewarded with a place in our semi-final

By John McGurk

The inspirational work of a County Armagh youth worker has been recognised by impressed Sunday Life readers. For dedicated Cherith Edgar is the latest heat winner of the Flybe/Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards competition.

UNSUNG HERO: Cherith Edgar won last week’s vote for a place in the semi-final

The Goal Line youth leader’s devotion to the 200-plus youngsters who use the Chambers Park facility saw her top the poll this week

and earns her a place in the Spirit of Northern Ireland semi-finals.

The Portadown woman heads a project that offers regular junior and senior clubs, as well as a new initiative — nights for young people and adults with severe learning difficulties.

Cherith also works with local training organisations and helps pupils at Killycomain High School in a learning support initiative.

In addition, she has organised a civic link programme for youngsters in Portadown and Carlow and projects to promote mutual understanding between local youth and young immigrants.

It’s no wonder then that Cherith describes her Goal Line work as “a hobby to me, as well as my job.”

European funding for her post ended last June. But impressed trustees have ensured that Cherith will remain at Goal Line, for the time being.

Said Cherith: “Money was raised through corporate sponsorship to keep me on, until after Christmas.

“I get paid for 35 hours a week. But I love my work so much. I would do somewhere between 50 to 60 hours. It is a kind of a hobby to me, as well as my job.

“But I don’t do the work on my own. There is a fantastic team of part time staff and volunteers who all share a passion for youth work.”

If she wins the Spirit of Northern Ireland Award, Cherith has vowed to donate the cash value of the Peugeot 207 prize to Goal Line and the place that took care of her cancer-suffering dad Harry — the Southern Area Hospice, in Newry.

The Portadown mum who has nominated Cherith

for the award, Pamela Smith, says: “She organises so many different courses, such as life skills, and workshops. These things take a long time to organise. But Cherith makes things happen.

“She always keeps parents informed about everything that is going on. She is also just so genuine with the young ones, like my eldest daughters Laura and Emma, that they just love going to Goal Line.”

Cherith, who is the third person to win a place in the semi-final of the Flybe/Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards, is due to feature on the UTV Life TV show this week — as will all of our heat winners.

If you know someone in Northern Ireland who you feel deserves to be recognised for their bravery, inspiration or selfless acts of help for others, then there is still time to nominate them.

Each week, we will feature four unsung heroes, with readers voting for the person who best represents the Spirit of Northern Ireland in 2008.

The phone lines are open for you to vote for your favourite nominee, until midnight on Tuesday.

Every Sunday, we will reveal who topped the phone poll and then open the lines again for the next four nominees. The top ten nominees featured over these weeks will then go forward to a semi-final, along with the next ten most popular, as voted for by Sunday Life readers.

Out of these top 20 nominees, the public will be asked to vote for the final ten. The Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards Top Ten will then appear at a fantastic final, hosted by UTV’s Julian Simmons and a mystery famous telly star, at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast on January 20.

A panel of judges will then choose the Flybe/Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Award winner, who will receive a Peugeot 107 car as their prize. The person who nominated the winner will win a pair of Flybe flight tickets.

Belfast Telegraph

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