Cookstown Youth coach first Northern Irish worker to win prestigious Emerson award

Niall Hunter with his Tom Bettcher community service award from Emerson
Niall Hunter with his Tom Bettcher community service award from Emerson

A local man who gives up his free time to train young footballers, has recently taken his generosity to the next level.

Cookstown Youth coach in his spare time, Niall Hunter, recently won the prestigious Tom Bettcher Community Service Award from employers Emerson - and donated the cash prize to two local causes.

Niall Hunter with Copeland plant manager Pascal Doner

Niall Hunter with Copeland plant manager Pascal Doner

Because of his giving nature both LILAC Cancer Support and Superstars were handed cheques for over £1,000 each.

The award, named for former Emerson Climate Technologies President and CEO, Thomas E Bettcher, recognizes an employee whose excellence in community service reflects the legacy of leadership and sustained community involvement demonstrated by Tom Bettcher.

And what’s even more impressive, is that Niall is the first ever Northern Ireland-based employee to win the American multi-national corporation’s award - through Emerson-owned Copeland.

Niall, who was also recently awarded the Irish FA Community Volunteer of the Year Award for his work with Cookstown Youth, has played a big part in the development centre that trains around 200, five to 12-year-olds every week.

“He gives a tremendous amount of time and energy to supporting our community,” said friend, Daron Patterson.

Niall, who has worked at Copeland for the past 18 years has been a volunteer coach with local club Cookstown Youth Football Club for around the same number of years.

After breaking his leg while playing for Cookstown Utd in 1998, Niall was approached by Cookstown Youth during his recovery to see if he would be interested in getting involved with coaching youth football.

From then he has held many roles in the club from coach to manager, committee member, assistant treasurer, development centre manager and more.

Current first team manager, he has been heavily involved in the team’s transition from a youth club, into adult football with the senior men’s and men’s reserves teams.