Whitehead 'unsung hero' to pick up Rotary award

Whitehead man Noel McKee is being honoured by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland with a prestigious Community Champion award.
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Held annually, Community Champions are part of Rotary’s Champions Awards, which recognises unsung heroes whose volunteering efforts have had a huge impact on people’s lives both at home and internationally.

This year’s winners will accept their awards during a special ceremony at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Saturday, June 17.

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Noel McKee.Noel McKee.
Noel McKee.

For three decades, he has been involved in working for his community, both through his position in the Northern Ireland Fire Service and on a personal level.

His work has ranged from organising events at a local level in his hometown of Whitehead and at a national level where he spearheaded fundraising in the fire service, raising thousands of pounds for charities across Northern Ireland.

Since retiring from the fire service, Noel has continued to take part in a wide range of voluntary work, from litter picking to improve the appearance of his town, through to supporting vulnerable people by running events to raise awareness of and improve mental health. He was also involved in setting up and administering a local food bank and organising support for local people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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He has pioneered 15 fundraising projects and events and it’s estimated that over the last 20 years, Noel has raised approximately £350,000.

The search for this year’s winners was carried out across Rotary’s vibrant network of over 1,500 Rotary clubs, with Rotary members and members of the public having their extraordinary work recognised.

This ranged from providing essentials to the homeless to producing sanitary pads for schoolgirls in Africa.

Garth Arnold, Chair of the Rotary Great Britain & Ireland Board, commented: “What Noel has managed to achieve over the years is truly inspiring. His decades of dedication to fundraising and voluntary work should make him a role model to us all and definitely a worthy recipient of a Community Champion award.”

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Tickets for the awards ceremony are now on sale and more details can be found here: www.rotarygbi.org/champions

To get involved in Rotary and make a difference in your community, visit www.rotarygbi.org/join

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