Martin Mullan - the first recipient of the Journal’s Derry People of the Year lifetime achievement award, has raised over £1m for charities.
And yet he has found time to succeed in two different careers at the same time.
Martin started work 30 years ago as a car sales man and is now Business Manager with the largest Ford Dealership in the North West. He also runs his own property business. However, these successful careers have often had to take second place to another passion - Martin has dedicated his life to promoting his City, its people and their causes.
Martin is well known and recognised throughout Derry and beyond for his Charity work which not only helps charities raise much needed funds but also promotes their ethos. That upaid fundraising work, d one on his own time, has also been going on for the past 30 years. He is involved with many organisations that assist in the development of skills and abilities of the city’s young people and has held many positions of influence over the years. He believes that the youth are the city’s future and wants to play his part in helping them shape the world that they will live in.
What makes Martin stand out from his peers is that he is a charismatic Leader who gets things done – he is inspirational, has an inordinate amount of energy, enthusiasm, crazy ideas and passion. He simply never takes “no” for an answer. He thinks outside the box when planning events and where others see obstacles, Martin sees opportunities.
Here are just a few examples:
After joining the Junior Chamber in 1997 he became involved in various fundraising campaigns. Martin soon realised that large events for charity could not only raise much needed funds but also raise the profile of the City and its people. He recognised the value of holding influential positions so that he could ensure those in need reaped the benefits - and everything just seemed to spiral from there.
He became President of Junior Chamber of Commerce in 2000 and again used this position to promote many charities. He was awarded the titles of most outstanding President in Northern Ireland and separately, the most outstanding Leader. He was further awarded the “Most Outstanding President in the UK” title. He was given the great honour of receiving a Senatorship from the Junior Chamber of Commerce in October 2001. He was the first person fro Ireland to become European president of Rotary.
Charities benefitted from many fundraising events organised as Martin held all of these positions.
Throughout his decades of service, Martin has developed a network of people across the community and business world that he can call upon to deliver when needed. He has an incredible ability to retain names and contact details, especially given that he knows so many people from all sections of the community. His inspirational projects reach out to people of all abilities, and from all walks of life.
Martin has obviously achieved numerous accolades throughout his life but instead of basking in self-glory, he has used his achievements to accomplish his goals of providing for those in need by raising funds and highlighting the profiles of many different charities, whilst at the same time showcasing Derry as a place to be proud of.
In 2002 he organised the project “Hands across the bridge”, raising over £50,000 for Children’s Cancer. In 2004 he had the privilege of becoming one of the North West People of the year. From 2004 to 2007 Martin organised the annual 101 Santas event, raising approximately £10,000 each year. In 2007 he put Derry City in the Record Books by inspiring 13,000 people to take part in one of the best projects that this city has ever witnessed, (the largest gathering of Santas) which attracted media coverage throughout the world, and, in doing so helped create lifelong memories for many families and individuals.
He has helped raise over £70,000 as manager of Derry City Legends over the past three years by organising many football matches for charities.
He visits many schools giving inspirational and motivational talks on encouraging young people to achieve their dreams – once again on a voluntary basis.
When the late Tony O’Donnell died, Martin took over the Grove Theatre Group and is currently a Director, keeping approximately 160 young people off the street and developing their skills and abilities. He runs the local pantomime in the Waterside and has managed and directed many of the Grove productions such as Peter Pan, Annie and Oliver.
As Chairman of Young Enterprise, he has given many inspirational presentations to schools all over the North West encouraging many young people to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
He has been arrested, thrown off a high rise tower, dressed up in many stupid costumes, had his legs waxed, received several custard pies in his face, walked miles, talked piles and held hands - all in the name of charity. The charities to benefit from his efforts are too numerous to mention.
Overall, Martin’s time, effort and his inspirational qualities, have allowed him to raise over a million pounds for Charity throughout his life and all done in a voluntary capacity – this is what makes his achievements outstanding.
Despite all of the success in his career and in his voluntary roles, there is also another side to Martin Mullan - he is a family man, a fun loving, romantic husband; a caring, concerned and proud father and a doting grandfather.
Martin’s dedication to family, to helping nurture young people and shaping a better environment in which they can develop and prosper is replicated on a very large scale outside of the family home. Martin sees everyone in the city of Derry as part of a bigger family, and one that also deserves commitment to encouraging youth to fulfil their potential to helping others in need, and to shining the brightest of lights on the things that Derry does best.
For these and many other reasons Martin Mullan is a fitting first ever recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award