Local winners at Families First awards

Megan Fleming won Child Superstar of the Year.
Megan Fleming won Child Superstar of the Year.

Carrickfergus residents have been recognised for their contribution to the community during the recent Families First awards.

The ceremony in Belfast on Saturday celebrated individuals and businesses who have gone to great lengths to help their families or members of the community.

Madison Wright with her awards from Families First.

Madison Wright with her awards from Families First.

Among the local winners were Megan Fleming and Madison Wright, who jointly picked up Child Superstar of the Year along with Corban Hillick from Belfast.

Madison also received the Child of Endeavour award in recognition of her efforts to raise awareness of Vanishing White Matter (VWM) Disease.

The ten-year-old has been behind a number of fundraisers over the past year in aid of her friends Noah and Gracie Coates, who were both diagnosed with the rare condition.

Madison's mum, Angela told the Carrick Times: “She was totally overwhelmed to win the award; she was speechless!

"Matthew and I are so proud of her and the fact that she thinks about other people."

And the Central Primary School pupil isn't stopping there, with another charitable event planned for this summer.

"She's organised a coffee morning in June to raise funds for Horizon House, where both Noah and Gracie have spent time," Angela added.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Megan has been instrumental in raising awareness of scoliosis.

The local teen travelled to Turkey last year, where she underwent vital surgery to correct a severe curvature of her spine.

Her namesake charity, Megan's Wish, was set up to help other young people living with the condition.

“Megan has turned her negative experience into a positive; this is the start of her journey in promoting that you can lead a normal life after surgery," said her mum, Karen.

"Megan won the award partly for the entire experience travelling to Turkey and also for raising awareness and trying to promote change.

"We are passionate that we will hold support groups for children and adults and provide safe environments for them.

"As a mum I couldn’t be more proud - she is now standing up for other children to help them through their illness.”

Also honoured on the night was local woman Hilda Boyd, who was named Best Grandparent along with Patricia Mageean from Downpatrick.

Carrickfergus Child Contact Centre was nominated in the Best Organisation Supporting Families category, while local man Thomas Haighton was nominated for the Amazing Act of Kindness award.

Julie Lowry from Islandmagee Primary School was also nominated for Best Teacher.