Teenager Sophie shortlisted for SuperStars award

Teenager Sophie shortlisted for SuperStars award

7 November 2018

A BIG-HEARTED Downpatrick girl, who decided to help an elderly neighbour whose home was targeted in an arson attack, is in line for a prestigious award.

Thirteen year-old Sophie McCarthy is one of four inspirational local people who have been shortlisted for the SuperValu SuperStars awards.

She and 20 other finalists from across Northern Ireland will attend the awards ceremony at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast, on November 21.

Now in its second year, the SuperValu Superstars recognise those who have gone beyond the call of duty to help people and communities in need.

The six categories comprise Young SuperStar, Fundraising SuperStar, Unsung SuperStar, Community Group SuperStar, Social Enterprise SuperStar and SuperValu Action Cancer SuperStar.

Sophie has been shortlisted in the Young SuperStar category for what was described as a “display of maturity and thoughtfulness beyond her years”. Sophie been responsible for numerous fundraisers in her local community and her most recent campaign came in May this year after the arson attack on Mr John Brown’s home at Ballymote Walk in the Model Farm housing estate.

The blaze, which was widely condemned, engulfed Mr Brown’s small bungalow and began when a nearby fence was deliberately set on fire.

Many of Mr Brown’s possessions, including a motability scooter, which was in a shed, were destroyed.

Within days of the attack, Sophie launched her appeal. Mr Brown, who was not in the house at the time, was a resident at Wood Lodge care home in Castlewellan. Sadly, he died the following month.

An undaunted Sophie decided to continue with her fund-raising efforts and managed to raise £650 through collection boxes which was shared between a local fire service charity, the Northern Ireland Hospice and Wood Lodge where a wooden bench in Mr Brown’s memory was unveiled.

Also nominated in the Young Superstar category is 12 year-old Brendan Morgan, from Crossgar.

Brendan Morgan has been nominated by his mum — a single parent who suffers from a serious debilitating illness.

She hopes to give recognition to Brendan for the care he has provided to her through the years, as his ability to care for her from such a young age has been both invaluable and inspiring.

Nominated in the Fundraising Superstar category is Comber mum Michelle Boyd.

Michelle was nominated for this award by her 17 year-old daughter, Taylor, who received life changing spinal surgery for a rare condition on account of her mum’s fundraising efforts.

In a bid to change her daughter’s life before her condition left her paralysed, Michelle raised £25,000 in just four months to send Taylor to Barcelona for pioneering surgery.

Also nominated in the Fundraising SuperStar category is another Comber woman, Eveline Carlisle, who has been raising funds for various causes in her community for 60 years.

From churches and organisations to people in need, Eveline is always first to come up with a fundraising idea and thrives off being able to help people in need.

The glittering awards ceremony will be hosted by TV personality Pamela Ballantine and the overall winner will walk away with £1,000 for themselves and a £1,000 donation to a registered charity of their choice.  All other finalists will receive SuperValu vouchers.

Pamela said: “I’m thrilled to be part of this amazing initiative which rewards those who are doing good things in communities right across Northern Ireland.

“There is a lot of incredible work being done by individuals, both kids and adults, that goes completely unrewarded and this campaign offers the chance for some of this work to be recognised. 

Stephen Bogle, SuperValu Brand Manager, said: “The SuperValu SuperStars campaign uncovers and recognises remarkable individuals from all parts of the community who have gone beyond the call of duty.

“As well as rewarding kids and adults who have done something remarkable, the introduction of additional categories this year means we will be able to reward the work done by people in the social enterprise sector, in community groups and even among SuperValu colleagues who work tirelessly all year to raise funds for Action Cancer.”

He added: “There were so many fantastic and unique entries this year and the judging process is never an easy task, but we have an extremely strong group of finalists and the winner will be a very deserving one.