Paying tribute to Her Grace, the Duchess of Abercorn who has been the driving force behind the Pushkin Prize, John McDaid told her: “I will never forget what you did for me and what you have done for hundreds or children across this island.
“You have brought so much light and life to so many people, in our schools and in our community.
“You have made a remarkable difference.”
McDaid was just 11 when his story ‘A Symbol of Hope’ won the first Pushkin Prize.
McDaid said as his final words he wished to set the people of Derry a challenge - one inspired by the Duchess of Abercorn and her dedication to the Pushkin Trust.
“I dare you to dream out loud and with all the energy and creative spirit you have. I ask you to look at your own blank page and not be scared by it, but instead to embrace all the possibilities it offers.
“I ask you to ask yourself, what if?”