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February 2015

Stop the press! Nominations for the 2015 Ni4kids Family Awards are now open and we are giving you the opportunity to join forces with us to recognise and reward the people, organisations and businesses across Northern Ireland who put families first.

Anthony Lewis from Belfast has nominated his wife Dearbhail in the Mum of the Year category. He wrote, ‘Dearbhail is just the greatest mum to our five children. She has just finished maternity leave and is going back to work as a consultant psychiatrist. While breastfeeding our youngest Grace she also donated to the milk bank for premature babies. I think she is an excellent role model for our children and we think she is the best! Michael Whitford from Conlig believes his wife, mum of two Emma, is also a supermum and deserves a medal saying, “In September 2013 I was diagnosed with cancer in my Oesophagus and stomach. I had to undergo chemo, an operation and long recovery period. Throughout this time, Emma had to deal with a newborn baby and a toddler. She is now back working in her job as a teacher and how she does it all and keeps this family functioning I will never know.”

Sinead Flynn, corporate social responsibility assistant for Lidl who sponsor the Ni4kids’ Mum of the Year award would encourage readers to make a nomination if they know a family hero like Dearbhail or Emma. She commented: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Ni4Kids’ Mum of the Year Award for a second year. In 2014 we had the pleasure of tapping into the humbling and heart-warming stories of many women who have gone above and beyond for their families and their communities, and we want to make sure their efforts are recognised. We look forward to working with Ni4Kids again this year to find another outstanding woman who is most deserving of this prize.”

Single mum Liane Wilson from Belfast has nominated her five-year-old daughter Kayla for the Ni4kids’ Child of the Year Award. She explained to Ni4kids how Kayla coped amazingly at a very young age after her mum was diagnosed with cervical cancer; having to endure long periods of separation while Liane received treatment at hospital. Kayla has also developed motor facial tics and suffers from blurred vision due to an eye condition. Liane describes her daughter as a ‘bright, bubbly little girl’ who has had far too much to cope with as an only child with a sick mother. Liane says: “She really is my whole reason for living.” Do you know a little superhero like Kayla? If you do then let us know all about them and they could be joining families from across Northern Ireland at a gala awards ceremony this June in their honour.

We are also searching for your teaching heroes in the Primary School Teacher of Year category. Karen McComb from Banbridge has nominated Mrs Malcomson from Abercorn Primary School in the town for being a ‘very special teacher’. Karen praised her son Nathan’s teacher for her ‘patience and understanding’ commenting that thanks to Mrs Malcomson’s support, her little boy has made great progress and is more confident and happy in life. The Teacher of the Year Award is supported by Forestside and centre manager Lee Cutler explained why: “Forestside has been building strong relationships with many schools in the primary and post-primary sectors for several years through its exciting range of educational projects. We have seen much of the work undertaken by the teachers and are delighted to be able to support and showcase the many talents in Northern Ireland.”

Susan Snowden from Belfast thinks her mum, Margaret Yoong, deserves recognition in the Grandparent of the Year Category. Susan wrote in her nomination, ‘My mum worked for many years as a midwife in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit at Jubilee Belfast City Hospital caring for very sick babies. She was truly dedicated to her job but unfortunately had to give up work due to chronic back pain. Now my children Emma (9) and Jack (5) have come along, she has a new job looking after them. I work as a trainee surgeon and my husband and I both work long shifts. Without her I wouldn’t be able to do the job I do. She always has a smile on her face and never complains.’

The OUTLET, Banbridge, have been a long- time supporter of this annual event. Marketing manager Siobhan McKeown said: “We're thrilled to be back supporting the Ni4kids Awards again and would encourage everyone to get involved and nominate someone or someplace special to them. These awards are about recognising our loved ones and having an opportunity to say thank you to the people and places who go above and beyond for families with young children in Northern Ireland.
If you know someone special like one of our nominees mentioned, then why not let everyone else know how fantastic they are? It’s easy to nominate and only takes a few minutes so get in touch and they could be walking on our red carpet this June.

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