The Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, Rev Dr David Latimer, received an award with a difference at the White Horse on Friday night.
The occasion was a function specially organised for him to receive a coveted North West People of the Year plaque.
Those in attendance included the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MP, junior minister Martina Anderson, and members of Rev Latimer’s congregation at First Derry.
Organisers in chief were Martin McCross an and his wife Sharon, who were central to the six years of North West People of the Year ceremonies which raised more than £150k for the Foyle Hospice.
Mr McCrossan said he felt strongly that the Rev Latimer should be given the award for the enormous contribution he had made to life in the city.
He said the opening of the refurbished First Derry church last year had been a milestone.
“The history books will be writing about you,” he commented. “The hope is that the work you have already done can be built on in the years ahead.”
The Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said he took real pleasure and was honoured to be at the special function.
Referring to the bombings in the city, he said it was important to emphasise the need for people of all denominations of the city to be united to make progress, not least in view of “some of the mad stuff we saw last night”.
Mr McGuinness added that he had absolutely no doubt that the city was beginning a very exciting period, and that the City of Culture year in 2013 would act as a springboard for its development.
He added; “I am absolutely fearless about the peace process and the need to put my head above the parapet and confront those who would try and drag us into the past.”
In making the presentation, Martin McGinley, editor of the Derry Journal, said the Rev Latimer had talked of the need for everyone to dig deep and do their bit to make the city a better space.
“He is certainly playing his own part.”
Speaking after a standing ovation, the Rev Latimer said he was humbled to get the award. He said political and religous allegiances shouldn’t stop people getting to know each other and working together.