Carrickfergus Grammar pupil is finalist in all-Ireland competition

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A Carrickfergus Grammar sixth former is one of 20 youth volunteers in the running for a prestigious community award.

Daniel Ritchie is a finalist in the 2017 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards.

The all-Ireland youth initiative rewards post-primary students for outstanding volunteering and “positive contribution they make in their local communities and further afield”.

Daniel knew from his personal experience of having a parent with a disability that there was a real need for help in this area.

He has dedicated his time to the YMCA youth club and to the “Get Set for Community Action” programme which was supported by the British Olympic Committee.

The “Get Set” programme involved the roll out of two Olympic-themed events for 100 adults with severe mental and physical disabilities, at Carrickfergus Senior Gateway, and the 30 elderly residents of One Irish Gate in Carrick.

Daniel helped to design and activate a “Mini-Olympic” night for Gateway with appropriately adapted activities to ensure that all 100 could take part. He also devised an Olympic-themed quiz for the elderly residents of One Irish Gate.

Kieran Mulvenna, principal, of Carrickfergus Grammar, said: “Daniel is a gem. He is a quiet, self-effacing and earnest young man, who unlike many others, turned the suffering of a long-term debilitating illness by his father into a life-affirming positive. I know that he will continue to give his best, quietly and caringly.”

Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland, said: “The finalists are extremely passionate about the work they carry out in their local community, and their stories are truly inspiring. It’s humbling to see the commitment and dedication from these young people.”

The finalists will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the gala awards ceremony at a Dublin hotel, next month.