The Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers have paid tribute to unsung heroes from across the country.

Overall winner

Davitt Walsh, from the Derry/Donegal border, rescued a baby from tragically drowning in March this year and as a result won the Overall Spirit of NI title.

Category winners

In additional to the overall winner there were 9 category winners; Founder of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, Colin Bell was given the Specsavers Overcoming Adversity Award following the incredible support his Trust has provided to families, helping to bring home the bodies of loved-ones who have died overseas. After his own son Kevin died in the States, Colin and his wife were so touched by the generosity of their community that they wanted to help others in similar circumstances and founded a charity to honour the memory of their son. The Trust has since helped over 170 bodies return to Ireland including Sr. Clare Crockett and Alan Drennan.

Other category winners included Spirt of Youth, Latasha Moore; Spirit of Sport, Terry McCorran; Caring Spirit, Adrian Simpson; Charity Champion, Pamela Nugent; 999 Hero, Judith Sexton; Spirit of Education, Ildiko Veres; Spirit of Health, Belfast City Hospital Nephrology Unit; and Unsung Hero, Davitt Walsh.

Special guests

Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers joined stars from stage, screen, sport and music to present the nine category winners with their awards. Guests included Carl Frampton MBE, Sir AP McCoy, former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle, The Fall actresses Bronagh Waugh and Niamh McGrady along with starts from Emmerdale. Tony McGinn, Store Director of Specsavers in Newtownabbey says, ‘Specsavers is delighted to sponsor these awards which recognise and celebrate unsung community heroes – ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to make a real difference to life in Northern Ireland. It was an emotional night mixed with tears and joy.’

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