Rebecca honoured for volunteer work

A Carrickfergus Grammar School pupil has been honoured for her volunteer work during a virtual awards ceremony.
Rebecca IrvineRebecca Irvine
Rebecca Irvine

Sixth year student Rebecca Irvine was recognised for the exemplary work she carries out in her local community at the 2020 Pramerica Spirit of Community Virtual Awards Ceremony, held on September 15.

She was chosen as one of 20 exceptional young people from across the island of Ireland who are working to make a positive impact on their local communities.

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In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s awards took place virtually, celebrating the creativity and commitment of Ireland’s top young volunteers.

Rebecca, who has a passion for medicine and helping others, began volunteering with St John Ambulance cadets, putting to practice a wide range of life-saving first aid skills from primary survey to CPR and bandaging wounds.

She volunteered at a local nursing home every week, helping those with dementia by assisting in dinner time responsibilities and assisting with large scale events to help raise vital funds.

In July 2019, Rebecca travelled with Habitat for Humanity to Buftea, Romania for 10 days. The trip was part of a ‘youth build’, helping construct an educational community centre to be used by two local schools, assisting with homework and educational activities.

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She raised over £1,000 to contribute towards the project by organising a show jumping competition at her local horse-riding school.

Rebecca’s volunteering duties have also seen her travel to Ghana independently for two weeks, where she spent her mornings in Cape Coast Teaching Hospital in four different wards.

She also spent afternoons volunteering at an orphanage, teaching, playing and learning from the children from both the orphanage and the nearby primary school.

The two All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year named at the event were Aaron Smith, a sixth-year student at St Louise’s Comprehensive in Belfast and Liadh Hanley, a sixth-year student from St Angela’s College, Cork.

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The event kicked off on Monday September 14 with a virtual mindfulness workshop from inspirational speaker Annette Kelly (Little Penny Thoughts), who gave the finalists the chance to share insights on their unique volunteering stories.

The awards event held on Tuesday September 15 saw honourees enjoy inspirational words from guest speaker Adam Harris.

Naomi Hegarty, vice president, Risk & Privacy, Pramerica Systems Ireland and executive sponsor for the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards said: “All of our 2020 finalists carry out exceptional volunteer work with the ultimate goal of making the lives better of those in need. It’s great to see their achievements being celebrated and I look forward to hearing about their continued good work in the future.

“If there is anything the last few months have shown us, it is the absolute value of volunteerism, the difference that it can make in communities and the importance of recognising those contributions and achievements around us. We also know it is particularly important that we have shining lights working to respond to challenges as they arise within our communities.

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“These awards acknowledge the commitment and dedication of young people in today’s society who see challenges as an opportunity to make a difference and provide solutions within their local communities, making them a better place.”

The 2020 Pramerica Spirit of Community finalists were:

- Lidia Ballocchi, Sixth Year, Assumption Grammar School, Co. Down

- Sasha Barrett-Ferris, Sixth Year, Sullivan Upper School, Co. Down

- Gavin Bennett, Third Year, Ard Scoil Chiarain Naofa, Co. Offaly

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- Jemma Campbell Sixth Year, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Co. Antrim

- Rebecca Colley, Sixth Year, Castleknock Community College, Co. Dublin

- Jessica Collins, Fourth Year, Skibbereen Community School, Co. Cork

- Keira Culleton, Third year, Loreto College, Co. Derry

- Jamie Duffy, Sixth Year, Beech Hill College, Co. Monaghan

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- Lauren Gaynor, Sixth Year, Loreto Grammar School, Co. Tyrone

- Charlotte Gallaher, First Year, Our Lady’s School, Co. Dublin

- Liadh Hanley, Sixth Year, St. Angela’s College, Co. Cork

- Rebecca Irvine, Sixth Year, Carrickfergus Grammar School, Co. Antrim

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- Grainne McGlynn, Fourth Year, Rosses Community School, Co. Donegal

- Julie Reddan, Sixth Year, Borrisokane Community College, Co. Tipperary

- Jake Redmond, Sixth Year, Larkin Community, Co. Dublin

- Aurora Riddiough, Fifth year, Ballycastle High School, Co. Antrim

- Sophia Shally, Third Year, St Louis Community School, Co. Mayo

- Aaron Smith, Sixth Year, St Louise’s Comprehensive College, Co. Antrim

- Emma Smyth, Sixth Year, St Louis Grammar School, Co. Antrim

- Teagan Stanley, Fifth Year, Newtown School, Co. Waterford