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Brave Cara rubs shoulders with celebs at Spirit awards

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Brave Cara rubs shoulders with celebs at Spirit awards thumbnailWINNER of the Spirit of Youth award, Cara McCartan, is presented with her trophy by Eamonn McFadden and Lucy Fallon. Also pictured are Nicola and Alison Crimmins.

A BESSBROOK 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.

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.

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

Celebrities who attended on the night to present awards included veteran broadcaster Eamonn Holmes, who had been on the judging panel, soap stars including Lucy Fallon who plays Bethany in Coronation Street, Emmerdale actors Dominic Brunt, Gaynor Faye, Michelle Hardwick, Liam Fox, otherwise known as Paddy, Megan, Vanessa and Dan.

Local actresses Bronagh Waugh and Niamh McGrady were also there to present awards and celebrate the winners' achievements.

Other big names presenting awards included NI football manager Michael O'Neill and new boxing world champion Ryan Burnnett, while Ulster player Craig Gilroy and Miss Northern Ireland Anna Henry also took to the stage to honour the category winners.

Brian O'Kane, Chairman of Specsavers Northern Ireland and director of Cookstown and Magherafelt Specsavers stores, said: "We at 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 we were absolutely overwhelmed to receive over 1,000 entries this year.

"As a judge it was certainly a challenge to choose just 10 winners as there were so many stories which moved us and highlighted the amazing community spirit which is not just alive, but thriving here.

"Each winner has shown incredible courage, grace and strength, putting others' needs before their own and for that we warmly congratulate them and thank them for the inspirational qualities they have shown."

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