Malcolm Hewitt, who, together with his wife Irene, founded the Derry branch of the Ulster Project, has been awarded an M.B.E for his work in cross community relations in the New Year’s Honours list .
Mr. Hewitt, from Sevenoaks in the city, is one of a number of local people to have been awarded M.B.E’s including Kinship Care founder Jacqueline Williamson, for her services to carers and children and Thomas Allen from Donemana for his services to the community.
British Empire Medals were awarded to Strabane’s Avril Pollock and Derry’s Elizabeth Deans for their voluntary work in the community while City of Derry RFC’s President, Susan Spence, also received a B.E.M for her voluntary services to rugby.
Mr. Hewitt said he was “humbled and honoured” with the recognition.
“I’m still in shock and I think I will be for a while, but I’m delighted that it means recognition for the project,” he said. “We’ve helped over 2,500 teenagers from both sides of the community here to have a chance to meet one another and travel. While there are more integrated schools now, unfortunately that same mistrust still exists and there’s still a big need for the Ulster project to give these young people a space to mix in. I’m pleased that we’re able to continue to do that work and being recognised in this way is fantastic.”
“The project has been running for over 40 years and it’s a privilege to meet so many of the young people who have come through it who now have their own children. The fact that they want their own families to take part is a great endorsement for us,” he added.