Derry Journal People of the Year award has meant so much

The Derry Journal Bet McLean People of the Year Awards is returning this September for the first time in two years and local people still have a chance to nominate special individuals and organisations for the contribution they have made to their respective fields and to help other in the community.

By Brendan McDaid
Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 10:47 am
Lisa Storey (Chairperson), Yvonne Devenney (Ward Sister, Children’s Ward, Altnagelvin) and Deirdre Cassidy (Treasurer) pictured at the Derry Journal Bet McLean People of the Year Awards back in 2019.

In the run up to the awards, we have spoken to previous award winners about what the recognition meant to them, including Altnagelvin Parents Group.

Recalling their Volunteer of the Year Award at the Derry Journal People of the Year Awards in 2019, the group stated: “We were delighted to discover that Altnagelvin Parents Group had been nominated for the Derry Journal Volunteer of the Year award 2019. We were informed the winners of this award would be chosen by public vote. At this stage we were a very new charitable organisation and only established a year prior in 2018. We fundamentally volunteer our time to Altnagelvin Parents group which is a group of parents with children that have life long and life limiting medical conditions, donating our time to help make life in hospital a comfortable as possible given our collective experiences. Our aim is to give something back. We never thought we would be noticed and nominated for such an award.

“We were overwhelmed by the support and publicity that we received in the run up to the event, a lot of lovely comments and positive feedback on the work we had carried. The Derry Journal has a large local audience, it enabled your readers to learn about Altnagelvin Parents Support group and what we do.”

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The group said the awards ceremony was “very well organised and such a lovely evening”. “We were delighted to be there amongst the other nominees, we genuinely didn’t think we were going to win, given that we were newly established group compared to the other volunteers in the category and the excellent work they do. The Volunteer of the Year award was the last of the night. We had such a good night listening to all the other winners and their stories, at this stage we felt we were awarded by just being nominated, and genuinely didn’t expect to win. When they called the winners names Lisa Storey and Deirdre Cassidy, we couldn’t believe it. We were overwhelmed when someone had taken the time to nominate us, but to know we receive the highest public vote for this award meant more than words can say. We are very proud of the work we do and never expect anything or any acknowledgement in return.

“Since we received the Volunteer of the Year award the work we do has gone from strength to strength. We believe thanks to this award the people of the city are familiar with the work we do, We have gained many new followers on our Facebook page ‘Parents of wards 6 & 16’, we have received many donations from members of the public and local organisations. Throughout Covid we have continued our work and in addition we now support the new Covid Children’s Ward in Altnagelvin.”