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Life-savers, fundraising stars and community heroes make the final of SuperValu Superstars

Almost 30 inspiring individuals from across Northern Ireland have been shortlisted for the SuperValu SuperStars awards and will attend a prestigious awards ceremony at Titanic Hotel on Thursday 21 November.

Returning for a third year, the popular initiative recognises those who had gone beyond the call of duty to help people and communities in need. The campaign launched in June and received an incredible number of inspiring nominations from across Northern Ireland.

Local heroes have been shortlisted within the categories of Young SuperStar, Fundraising SuperStar, Unsung SuperStar, Community Group SuperStar and Social Enterprise SuperStar.

From life-saving kidney transplants offered over the Christmas dinner table, to inspiring caregivers, volunteers, community activists and fantastic fundraisers, the shortlist shines the spotlight on the people that have gone above and beyond to make a difference in communities across Northern Ireland.

The dazzling finalists’ ceremony will be hosted by TV personality Pamela Ballantine and the overall winner will walk away with £1,000 for themselves and a £1,000 donation to a registered charity of their choice. All other finalists will receive SuperValu vouchers.

Awards host and judge Pamela Ballantine pictured with fellow judges Peter McVerry, U105 and Louise Tolerton, SuperValu.

Brendan Gallen, Head of Marketing, Musgrave NI said: “The intention of SuperValu SuperStars is to uncover and recognise remarkable individuals, including adults, children, community groups and people working in the social enterprise sector, who have gone beyond the call of duty.

“Once again, we have been blown away by the calibre of this year’s entries, and judging was a lengthy process. We are confident that we have selected an extremely strong group of finalists, who should all be very proud of their achievements. We are certain that all of our winners will be extremely deserving of their titles.”

Judge and host of SuperValu SuperStars, Pamela Ballantine, said: “Once again I am thrilled to be part of SuperValu SuperStars, an initiative which rewards local heroes for making contributions to communities right across Northern Ireland. It is inspiring to hear the stories of unsung heroes and the incredible work being done by children and adults that might otherwise have gone unrewarded. I look forward to meeting all of our finalists on November 21 in the Titanic Hotel, where they will be recognised for their achievements.”

Shortlisted nominees for the SuperValu SuperStars Awards 2019 include:

Young SuperStar

  • Jack Mulvenna (7) from Dunmurry came up with the idea to create a memory book to give comfort to his friend, whose father has passed away. Assisted by his teacher, Jack dedicated his free time to the creation of this book.
  • Abbie Hill (8) from Larne, has been shortlisted for her contribution to the environment through Larne Renovation Generation.
  • Kaitlyn McNally (14) from Randalstown provided support as a Young Carer to her best friend Mary, who suffered a brain injury as a result of a traffic accident in 2017 and requires constant care.
  • Gouri Riya Chugh (16) from Derry city, a student of Thornhill College demonstrated community spirit in fostering cultural diversity, tackling racism and enhancing civic pride within the local Indian community.
  • Sophie Mills (14) from Ballynahinch, who is registered blind, has demonstrated a strong desire to help others with a number of fundraising endeavors, which include a fundraising total of £850 for the Little Princess Trust.
  • Ellie Rutledge (16) from Enniskillen, a gymnast and volunteer at her local Splitz Gymnastics started her volunteering journey as part of the club’s leadership academy. After an injury to her wrist, Ellie started to focus more on her volunteer role and has since become a role model for her peers.

Fundraising SuperStar

  • Armagh woman, Sonia Ritchie led a fundraising initiative to raise £1000 for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, by running, walking or crawling 1,000 miles before her 50th birthday in September 2019. Not only was she successful in achieving her target mileage, but she also exceeded her target, raising more than £11,000 for the charity.
  • Brian Doherty from Glarryford, who is registered blind, raised almost £20,000 for Guide Dogs NI through fundraising activities including a 50-mile sponsored walk.
  • Greg McLaughlin from Claudy organised a charity barn dance, raising over £30,000 for the Foyle Hospice and Children in Crossfire.
  • Emma Graham from Coleraine, who dedicates her time as a dance teacher for ‘Strictly’ fundraising events in the community, has raised £30,000 in this year alone.
  • Terry Geddis, also from Coleraine organised a series of cycling fundraisers in memory of his late son, Zachary Geddis, who was lost to suicide in 2017.
  • Lily Devlin from Portaferry, a volunteer therapist at Daisy Lodge in Newcastle has raised over £3000 for the Children’s Cancer Fund with a variety of fundraisers
  • Cormac McMullan from Castlewellan raised over £150,000 to allow his neighbour to access specialist treatment for cancer not available through the NHS.

Unsung SuperStar

  • Sarah O’Connor from Glengormley, a member of the Belfast deaf community and busy mum has become a lifeline and confidant for two elderly deaf ladies in the community as part of a befriending scheme.
  • Jennie Morrison from Whitehead, is a dedicated volunteer, giving her time to many good causes in her local community, including regular shifts at the NI Hospice and Mid & East Antrim Animal sanctuary.
  • Willie Lowry from Titans Kickboxing Club in Limavady was nominated for his dedication to the running of the club over the past 20 years.
  • Shannon Brown from Crossgar, a volunteer with the Cancer Fund for Children, has dedicated hundreds of hours in the past two years to help young people impacted by cancer
  • Gary Trew from Bangor, a single foster carer and voluntary leader of the Antrim Gateway Club dedicated his time for over 33 years to support those with learning difficulties through sport, leisure and social opportunities.
  • Tommy McKelvey from Cookstown was nominated for his community spirit, demonstrated through the support of local sporting clubs and for his work with Women’s Aid, where he not only helps distressed women and children in the area find safehouses but also sources basic living supplies to help them to settle in.
  • Jennifer Hanna from Enniskillen has been nominated in recognition of her dedication to the running of local acrobatics club, Splitz Gymnastics. Jennifer, who runs the club as a not-for-profit venture, offers her time as head coach and has tirelessly applied for grant funding to ensure the continuation of the club.
  • Jeanette Williamson from Lisburn donated a kidney to her daughter’s future father-in-law. She made the selfless offer at the Christmas dinner table in 2018 and in January began getting tested. Earlier this year, Jeanette was part of a paired donation, with a successful transplant taking place on 12th June – the family say they will be ‘eternally grateful for her gift.’

Community Group SuperStar

  • Patricia McConnell, from Carnlough has made a huge contribution to the continuation of the Carnlough Community Association over the past 14 years, including the organisation of summer schemes, liaison with local primary schools and various heritage projects.
  • Aine Sloan is founder of Downpatrick Autism Family Support Group, an organisation that offers support, training for parents and alternative therapies to those diagnosed with autism.
  • Brothers Reece and Jordan McNamara from Dromore have been instrumental in helping their parents to set up of local charity FASD Aware NI, which raises awareness of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
  • Karen McGuigan from Draperstown has been recognised for her contribution to mental health charity, STEPS.

Social Enterprise SuperStar

  • Recognised for her contribution to Right Reasons in Dundonald, Julie Graham runs a local cafe facilitated by staff with learning difficulties. Julie trains all of the staff and goes above and beyond to ensure that they gain the skills required to seek future employment.
  • Marie Marin from Dunmurry, CEO of Employers for Childcare, has over 20 years’ experience as a Social Entrepreneur. She is the founder of local Social Enterprise Employers for Childcare which is a successful, profitable business that has, since 2008, invested almost £7 million into our charitable work. Marie received an OBE in 2013 for her services to Social Enterprise. Her enthusiasm for social enterprise is at the heart of everything she does.

SuperValu SuperStars media partners are The Sun and U105. The initiative is sponsored by Action Cancer, Balkan Holidays, Denny, Dove, Kinder Ice Cream, Philadelphia and RiverRock. For further information, visit