The third annual Belfast Media Group Sports Volunteer Awards were held at the City Hall last Tuesday evening. South Belfast was well represented among the 40 deserving nominees with Neil Donaldson from Aquinas FC and Eamon Deeney from Carryduff Colts honoured for their outstanding contribution to grassroots sport.
The Volunteer of the Year award went to Pat Hunter from the Irish Table Tennis Association who has helped guide Na Liu to this summer’s Olympic Games.
Jimmy Gibson from Castlereagh Hills Golf Club was awarded with the Hughes Insurance Lifetime Achievement Award along with Tommy Shaw from Davitt’s GAC.
The Young Volunteer of the Year was deservedly won by Carl McNally from Zanshin Karate Jutsu with Gareth Beacom from Charter NI singled out for the SERE Chevrolet Cross Community Sport Volunteer of the Year award.
Marc Mulholland from Finaghy picked up the Volunteer of the Year in a Specialist Sport for his work with the Andersonstown Tigers. Deputy Lord Mayor Tierna Cunningham was on hand to present the awards and the Sinn Féin councilor admitted that she was overwhelmed by the dedication and sacrifice of all 40 nominees.
“Before I came into the ceremony I was speaking to some of the young people and they were just so proud to be asked to come to the awards. They are really inspirational,” said Tierna.
“Awards like these are so important because they give people motivation to get involved in sport, which is so important for our communities.”
For more pictures from the event, which was hosted by Thomas Kane from BBC Sport NI, and sponsored by Hughes Insurance, Asda, SERE Chevrolet, Decathlon, O’Neill’s and Hakka Noodle, see pages 38 and 39 in this week’s sport section.