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June 2015

The wait is finally over. After months of nominations flying in from across the country to Ni4kids HQ, we can now reveal who will be joining us at Belfast City Hall on Monday June 29 for a spectacular gala awards ceremony in their honour.

Once again this year we were overwhelmed by the record number of nominations received and by the stories we read of the amazing children, parents, grandparents, teachers, charities, businesses and coaches who consistently go above and beyond. It was such a difficult task to select a final shortlist in each category – and a huge challenge for our judging panel to then select just three finalists in each category – which is why this year in some categories we have up to five finalists!

Congratulations to everyone who made it onto our shortlist this year – you are all outstanding and on behalf of families in Northern Ireland – we thank you for all that you do. But ultimately, our judging panel had to select the final few that soared high on their list for being everything a family superhero should be. After hours of deliberation and discussion the verdicts are in…and here are the results.
Our 2015 Finalists Are:

Primary School Teacher of the Year
Sponsored by Forestside

•Mrs Haugh-Graham, Brackenagh West PS, Kilkeel
•Mr Sean Maguire, Tummery PS, Omagh
•Mr Andrew Scott, Cranmore Integrated PS, Belfast

Shortlisted in this category: Miss Anne Marie McAlorum, Belvoir Park PS, Belfast; Miss Steph Shaw, Greystone PS, Antrim; Mr Brendan McKenna, St. Colmcille PS, Ballymena; Miss Linzi Bell, Ballinderry PS, Ballinderry Lower; Mr Philip O’Neill, St. John’s PS, Coalisland; Mr Raymond O’Toole, Corran Integrated PS, Larne; Mrs Fulton, Knockloughrim PS, Magherafelt &Mr Manogue, Elmgrove PS, Belfast.

Coach or Tutor of the Year

•Lisa Duffy, Bright Young Things, Belfast
•Michelle McMurray,Barre-2-Sole Dance Academy, Newtownards
•Alison Priddle, Sign2Music, Donaghadee

Shortlisted in this category: Alice Malseed, Big Telly Theatre Company; Avril Nicholl, Ballyclare Riding for Disabled Group; Kellie Storey, La Chance De Danser & Lynn Ross, Hola Muchachos.

Family Visitor Attraction of the Year (Large)

•Carnfunnock Country Park
•Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre

Shortlisted in this category: Belfast Zoo, Castle Espie, Comber & Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra.

Family Visitor Attraction of the Year (Small)

•Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh
•Plant & Play Wildlife Garden, Bangor
•Tannaghmore Gardens & Farm Museum, Craigavon

Shortlisted in this category: Lough Shore Park, Antrim; Rowallane Garden, Saintfield; Sperrin Fun & Heritage Farm, Feeny, Dungiven & World of Owls, Randalstown.

Family Event of the Year

Sponsored by Odyssey Cinemas Belfast

•Acoustic Picnic, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast
•NI Science Festival, Belfast
•Winter Woolly Walk for Cancer Fund For Children, across NI

Shortlisted in this category: Festival of Fools, Belfast & Sunflowerfest, Hillsborough

Family Support Organisation of the Year

•Autism Mums Community Support Group, Newry & Mourne area
•Cancer Fund For Children
•Phoenix ADHD Project, Coleraine

Shortlisted in this category: Family Learning Activities, Rosstulla School; Glenbrook Sure Start; Home Start, North Down & TOFS Northern Ireland.

Childcare Award
Sponsored by Employers For Childcare Solutions

•Little Kingdom Kids, Bangor
•Mother Hubbert’s Day Nursery & After-School Club, Moneyreagh
•Teri Sanders, Childminder, Bangor

Shortlisted in this category: Country Bumpkins Day Nursery, Comber; Ruth Maltman, Rainbow Nursery, Larne; Clare McClean, Childminder, Antrim; Maggie Surgeoner, Rocking Horse Nursery, Greenisland; Diane Koplewsky, Sleepy Hollow Group; Ruth Strawbridge, Childminder, Coleraine & The Sunshine Club, Dundonald Primary School.

Family Restaurant of the Year

•Greens Restaurant, Roe Park Resort, Limavady
•The Bistro at McCartney's of Moira
•The Ramore, Portrush
•Slim’s Healthy Kitchen, Belfast

Shortlisted in this category: Blue Chicago Grill, Lisburn; McDonald’s Downpatrick & The Kitchen Café, Enniskillen

Family Friendly Business of the Year
Sponsored by Citybeat

•Blooming Kids NI, Mid-Ulster
•Calm Confident Kids, Maghera
•Doodlebugs Creative Workshops, Belfast
Shortlisted in this category: Club V, Virgin Active Gym, Belfast; RinkaDink Photography, Belfast & Ripples Aqua School, Downpatrick.

Mum of the Year
Sponsored by Lidl NI

•Cheryl Corbett, Dromore
•Ann Marie McHugh, Belfast
•Tracey McGeehan, Dungannon

Shortlisted in this category: Leanne Alexander, Newtownards; Emily Hendron, Ballymena; Kerry Hawkins, Portadown; Tracey Henry, Coleraine; Karen Henning, Newtownabbey; Dearbhail Lewis, Belfast, Debbie McCann, Portadown; Lindsay McKnight, Ballyclare; Cara Savage, Newry; Tracey Stirling, Bangor & Emma Whitford, Conlig.

Dad of the Year
Sponsored by Q Radio

•Aaron Adams, Newtownards
•Geoff Allen, Bangor
•Gordon Hawkins, Portadown
•Balazs Kecskemeti, Belfast

Shortlisted in this category: Andy Henry, Belfast; Steven Hunter, Lisburn; Michael McCully, Bangor & James Murray, Castlewellan.

Grandparent of the Year
Sponsored by Ulster Bank

•John Carson, Coleraine
•Jennifer & John Meredith, Lisburn
•Margaret Rice, Crossgar
•Elizabeth Wylie, Lisburn

Shortlisted in this category: Elizabeth Anderson, Carrickfergus; Deirdre Devine, Greysteel; Maureen Flynn, Saintfield; Trevor Hill, Belfast; Joan Hewitt, Comber; Margaret Rose Mullan, Cookstown; John McCormick, Ballyclare; Patricia Mageean, Downpatrick, Nuala Savage, Belfast; Willie Parker, Newtownbutler, Colette & Joseph Ward, Newcastle; Susan Warmington, Bangor, Patrick Whearty, Bangor & Margaret Yoong, Belfast

Child of the Year
Sponsored by Gordons Chemists

•Liam Gonsalves, Belfast
•Ben Hawkins, Portadown
•Caitlin McCartan, Warrenpoint
•Liam McKinney,Dromore
•Ellie Tang, Ballymena

Shortlisted in this category: Sara Jayne Allen, Omagh; Daniel Buckley, Newtownabbey; Lewis Walker, Lisburn; Molly Taylor, Ballymena; Patrick Haren, Enniskillen, Chloe McKnight, Ballyclare, Kayla Wilson, Belfast; Ethan Savage, Newtownabbey; Taylor Gilkinson, Coleraine; Josh Whearty, Bangor & Eoghan McGirr, Trillick.

Find out more about our amazing 2015 finalists at

Meet the Judges

We were delighted to welcome three new members to our judging panel this year. Alex Kane, is a political columnist for the News Letter and Irish News and a feature writer for the Belfast Telegraph. As a political commentator Alex appears regularly on BBC, UTV and RTE and he has two children aged six and 16. Alex said it was an absolute pleasure to join our panel this year and described the experience as, ‘much more uplifting than the usual stuff I have to do!’

Director of BelfastFashionWeek and managing director of CMPR, Cathy Martin is mum to Valentina (3). Cathy boasts a wealth of international experience in brand management and communications and is often asked to voice her opinion in local media on all matters from style to parenting.

Ibe Sesay has been a presenter with CityBeat/ Q Radio for the past five years and has recently taken over the mid-morning show. Married to make-up artist Colleen, they have four Children, Katie (12) Mollie (9) Stephen (5) & Daniel (4). There’s never a dull moment in the Sesay household! Ibe told us he found it really tough – especially when it came to the more emotive categories – but he was more than happy to join the panel and learn about some of the fantastic facilities Northern Ireland has to offer for our kids, and find out about some of the most amazing people we have locally.

Alex, Cathy and Ibe joined our long-standing judges Mary Roulston, Principal of Millennium Primary School and Belfast Telegraph’s Woman of the Year in Education 2014, CEO of Children In Northern Ireland Pauline Leeson and managing director of Ni4kids, Gary Hamilton.

Image caption: Top row: Left to right. Alex Kane, Ibe Sasey, Gary Hamilton. Bottom row (L to R) Cathy Martin, Pauline Leeson and Mary Roulston.

Ni4kids would like to thank every single one of you who made a nomination this year. Without you this event would not be possible. To celebrate the awards this year Ni4kids will host a special preview screening of a big family blockbuster movie in July courtesy of Odyssey Cinemas Belfast. Everyone who made a nomination this year will be entered into the draw to win a family pass to attend. Winners will be notified in late June. Good luck!

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