Andrew Smith walks away with the overall SuperValu SuperStar title at awards ceremony
Andrew Smith from Dungiven has been crowned as the overall SuperValu SuperStar 2018 for his phenomenal fundraising efforts at a glittering awards ceremony in Titanic Hotel, Belfast. He also took home the Fundraising SuperStar title at the emotional ceremony, which recognised over 30 inspirational individuals from across Northern Ireland.
Hundreds of nominations were received for the SuperValu SuperStars competition. SuperValu has been rewarding community spirit in Northern Ireland with initiatives like this, since 2014.
The grand final was hosted by TV personality, Pamela Ballantine who crowned Andrew the overall SuperValu SuperStar 2018, presenting him with a £1,000 cash prize along with a £1,000 donation to his chosen charity.
Spanning almost a decade, Andrew’s fundraising journey started in June 2009 when he hosted a barn dance to raise money for the Ulster Cancer Foundation, raising over £4,000. The success of this initial event led him to organise a further 10 dances, booking top local artists including Mike Denver, Nathan Carter and Derek Ryan and raising almost £90,000 for a number of regional charities.
However, ill health has meant that Andrew organised his last event recently, as he explained: “My mind is willing, but my body isn’t as able as it used to be so regretfully, I have had to call it a day on these big events, but what a wonderful way to go! Being named the SuperValu SuperStar 2018 has given me a huge boost. I was so incredibly shocked to win but absolutely delighted.”
This year’s event introduced a series of new categories, including Young SuperStar, Fundraising SuperStar, Unsung SuperStar, Community Group SuperStar, Social Enterprise SuperStar and Action Cancer SuperStar; to help capture the good work done across a whole spectrum of Northern Ireland society. Winners from each category received awards on the night and a £250 shopping voucher for SuperValu.
Brendan Morgan, aged 12 from Crossgar, won the Young SuperStar category and was also Highly Commended, receiving a prize of £500, for the care he provides to his mother. His mum, a single parent who suffers from a serious illness, nominated him as she wanted to recognise his selfless character, which is inspiring at such a young age.
Receiving the Unsung SuperStar award was Leisa Smith, a photographer from Derry~Londonderry, who donates her spare time to the Lavender Suite in Altnagelvin Hospital, where she offers her photography services to families who have lost their children at birth.
Picking up the Community Group SuperStar award was Tracy Collins from Cookstown, chairperson of Team Aspie, for her work in her local community to support young people with autism and Asperger’s. Team Aspie creates an environment that allows young people to create strong friendships, improve their mental and physical health and participate in workshops.
The Social Enterprise SuperStar award was presented to Lisburn woman, Paula Jennings, founder of Stepping Stones NI. Paula was recognised for her outstanding contribution to the development and success of the organisation, which she has led for 20 years, supporting more than 250 people with learning disabilities in Lisburn and beyond.
Finally, honoured with the Action Cancer SuperStar award was Karen Hargan, a long serving member of the SuperValu Limavady team and an outstanding fundraiser. Already this year, she has helped raise a massive £1,300 for Action Cancer, whilst her popular in-store book sale has helped SuperValu Limavady raise over £25,000 for Action Cancer.
Brendan Gallen, Head of Marketing, Musgrave, said: “We were delighted to announce Andrew Smith as the overall winner at this year’s event. We were blown away by his exceptional fundraising achievements over the years – to raise such a huge amount for the local community is a massive achievement and he should be incredibly proud of his hard work. He embodies what community is all about for us.
“We realise his health means he can no longer dedicate himself to organising events in the way he used to, but we hope this award goes some way to thanking him for his hard work over the years.
“It was humbling to hear the stories of all 31 of our finalists and to shine a light on them in this way was an honour for everyone at SuperValu.”
SuperValu SuperStars’ media partners are The Sun and U105 and the initiative is sponsored by Denny, Action Cancer, Robinsons and Dove.