The 2017 Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards sponsored by Specsavers recognised two Coleraine people with top awards.

Andrea – Angel of Hope

Local woman Andrea McAleese, was awarded with the Overcoming Adversity Award for her commitment to fundraising for the Angel of Hope Garden in Coleraine after the tragic death of her three-year-old daughter Roma.

Willie Gregg – Charity Champion

Former fisherman Willie Gregg, the owner of the popular Harbour Bar in Portrush, felt compelled to do something after seeing the devastating scenes left by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Since then, he has raised over £250,000 for his charity ‘Willie’s Orphan Fund’ which has provided children in Phuket with food, shelter and the chance of a better future through education. Willie was named the Overall Spirit of Northern Ireland.

Specsavers support

Coleraine store director, Lynn Mackey, attended the star-studded event in the Culloden Hotel. ‘We at Specsavers are so thrilled and proud to be title sponsor of such a special event which celebrates the unsung heroes in our communities across Northern Ireland.

'It was brilliant to see two folk from the Coleraine area being recognised for their contribution to the community and especially as there were over 1,000 entries this year.’

Unsung heroes and celebrities

The annual awards recognise and celebrate unsung community heroes – ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to make a real difference in Northern Ireland, touching the hearts of their neighbours along the way. The Awards event was attended by Sky presenter Eamonn Holmes, stars from Coronation Street, Emmerdale, The Fall and Holby City as well as sporting celebrities such as Michael O’Neill and Craig Gilroy.

Entertainment was provided by Britain’s Got Talent finalists, St Patrick’s Junior Choir from Drumgreenagh and Boyzlife singers Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden.

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