Antrim local honoured at Spirit of NI Awards
Tony Christie (left) and UTV’s Paul Clark (right) present Antrim man, Gary Trew with the Caring Spirit award at the Sunday Life Spirit of NI Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank. Also pictured is Gwyneth Compston from category sponsor, Power NI.
The stars were out in force on Friday June 30th to celebrate the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland awards in partnership with Ulster Bank and where the opening award, Caring Spirit, was won by Antrim local, Gary Trew.
Now in their 14th year, the awards celebrate ordinary people who do extraordinary things to support their family, friends and neighbours, and were held in a glitzy ceremony at the five-star Culloden Estate and Spa.
Among those in attendance to celebrate the winners and learn more about their incredible stories, were some of the most recognisable faces from the world of TV, film, music and sport. Actor Ciarán Hynes, Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, TV personality Christopher Biggins and Oscar winner James Martin, were all there to pay tribute to the nominees and help them celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Guests were treated to performances by comedian Tim McGarry, a rousing rendition of ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’ by pop legend, Tony Christie, and a special post-awards show by Ricky Warwick of Thin Lizzy.
The first award of the night went to local Mencap volunteer Gary Trew. The judging panel which was made up of Sunday Life Editor, Martin Breen, Ulster Bank’s Terry Robb, Tik Tok sensation, India Sasha and acting legend, Dan Gordon, was impressed by Gary’s dedication to caring for others and wanted to recognise his work as a foster carer, a teacher and his 37 years of service with the Gateway Club in Antrim.
Gary was described as the heart and soul of the Mencap club and has worked hard to fundraise for improved facilities and also promote good relations within the organisation. He has helped service users reach their full potential and encouraged hundreds of young people not to give up on their ambitions.
Gary received his award from singer Tony Christie, UTV Anchor, Paul Clark, and Gwyneth Compston from category sponsor Power NI.
Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, the principal sponsor of the awards since 2020, said it was a huge pleasure to attend the awards on then night and learn more about the inspirational people living and working in towns and communities right across Northern Ireland.
“The Spirit of Northern Ireland awards are a fantastic way of celebrating our local heroes who make a real difference to the lives of others. Each year we get a snapshot of ordinary people who do extraordinary things and are humbled and honoured to partner with the Sunday Life to tell these stories.
“With branches and colleagues right across Northern Ireland, we know how powerful community spirit can be and how much can be achieved when we help each other and work together. Championing the potential of local people and businesses is at the heart of Ulster Bank’s purpose and hearing so many inspirational stories at the Spirit awards encourages us to keep going with this mission.
“Congratulations to all of the winners, keep inspiring others with the great work that you do and we will continue to shine a light on you and the incredible organisations you represent.”
Other winners on the night included DCI John Caldwell who made his first public appearance following a dissident republican shooting attack to collect a Special Recognition Award and Gary Lightbody who received an Outstanding Contribution award, in recognition of his charity work through the Lightbody Foundation.
More information about the awards, including a gallery of images and videos can be found atwww.belfasttelegraph.co.uk