Whitehead man wins Spirit of NI award

Noel McKee with Louis Walsh at the awards ceremony.
Noel McKee with Louis Walsh at the awards ceremony.

A Whitehead firefighter has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to the community.

Noel McKee picked up the ‘999 Hero’ accolade at the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland awards last week.

A crew member with NIFRS for 32 years, Noel also spearheaded a number of charity initiatives in recent years - the most recent being Healthy Body, Healthy Mind in conjunction with MindWise and NI Chest, Heart and Stroke.

“It’s nice to be named in something like this, but the real heroes are the ones who are looking after their sick kids, or struggling with their physical and mental health yet still getting up every morning,” he said.

“It’s also great to have recognition for everyone who has helped me along the way, especially my wife Gillian and our two boys Tom and Cameron.”

Gary Thompson, NIFRS Chief Fire and Rescue Officer, added: “I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Noel McKee on winning the 999 Hero award in the Spirit of NI Awards.

"Throughout his 30 year career Noel has been a dedicated and outstanding charity champion. He has raised over £1million for local charities including NI Cancer Fund for Children, Chest Heart & Stroke, MindWise, Hope House and the Firefighters Charity.

"He is also a keen advocate for mental and physical health awareness within NIFRS and beyond. Noel’s energy, tenacity, enthusiasm and ability to make things happen is inspirational and he is without doubt an extremely worthy recipient of this award.”