A Newry girl described by her family and teachers as a 'superstar' has won the Spirit of Youth Award at the 2017 Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers.

Seven year-old Cara McCartan regularly interprets for her parents, Sandra and Hugh - who are both deaf - through the use of sign language.

In December last year Cara faced another challenge with bravery when her mother, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, was struggling to breathe.

In the midst of the frightening situation, Cara kept her cool and managed to phone the ambulance and keep her mother safe until the paramedics arrived.

Celebrating community heroes

The Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards recognise and celebrate unsung community heroes – ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to make a real difference to life in Northern Ireland, touching the hearts of their neighbours along the way.

Over 350 people, including the 10 remarkable winners and their families attended the star-studded bash at the Culloden Hotel, which was hosted by UTV’s Marc Mallett and Pamela Ballantine.

Guests heard that although Cara has faced more challenges than most seven year olds, she always has a smile on her face and leaves a lasting impression on everyone she meets.

Coronation star presented award

She was presented with her award by Eamonn McFadden, from category sponsor Harvey Norman and Lucy Fallon who plays Bethany Platt in Coronation Street.

Alison Dunne, store director of Specsavers Newry, said: '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 and the judges were absolutely overwhelmed to receive over 1,000 entries this year.

'Cara is such a worthy winner, showing incredible courage, grace and strength, especially for one so young. We warmly congratulate her and thank her for inspiring everyone she meets.'

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