A Carrickfergus student is celebrating after picking up a prestigious accolade in recognition of her volunteer work.
Erin Tweedie, a Year 12 pupil at Downshire School, is the latest recipient of the Diana Award, set up in 1999 in memory of the late Princess of Wales.
The award aims to recognise ordinary young people who have had an impact on their own communities.
Erin was nominated for the honour by her year head Mrs Cowan in recognition of her work as a senior member volunteer and peer mentor at Whitehead Youth Club.
“I’ve been with Whitehead Youth Club since 2009 and in 2012 I completed a youth development course,” said Erin, who devotes three evenings a week to the centre.
“I’ve been involved in youth fairs, residentials and community exchanges with other young people from Dublin, as well cultural exchanges with people from Finland and Italy.
“I was nominated for both the volunteer award and the fundraising award; when I heard in August that I had won the volunteer award, I was so pleased, I actually just started crying!”
The 15-year-old student, who is a prefect at the school, is also in the running for the Pramerica Spirit of the Community and Rotary Youth Leadership awards.
Erin was officially presented with the Diana Award on Tuesday at the school by Ivan Arbuthnot, chair of the General Teaching Council in Northern Ireland.
Congratulating Erin was Downshire principal Jacqueline Stewart. “We in Downshire School are extremely proud of Erin; she was nominated for this award because of her dedication to serving her local community,” Mrs Stewart said.
“The nomination was wholeheartedly endorsed by both me and the leader of Whitehead Youth Club, Sandra Lawler. The Diana Award will encourage her to continue her work and will hopefully inspire others to volunteer in their schools and communities. Erin is delighted to receive an award in recognition of her commitment to helping others and supporting the community both in Whitehead Youth Club and Downshire School.”
The Award exists to celebrate young people who support others and strive to improve their communities. Some 39,000 inspirational young people have received the Diana Award for demonstrating the qualities associated with the late Princess - compassion and a selfless commitment to improving the lives of others.