Imagine if Mother Teresa and Mrs Brown combined forces to run a community centre dedicated to using the arts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in society.
That might help describe the impact produced by tireless community worker Carol Duffy, whose charity work in Cookstown has now gained the highest level of attention.
At a glittering award ceremony last weekend attended by film and soap stars, Carol was crowned Overall Winner of the Sunday Life/Specsavers Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards.
Visibly stunned, she rose to a standing ovation and picked up her trophy and £1,000 cash prize, courtesy of local care recruitment agency Peninsula Care Services.
A delighted Carol, who set up The Hub community centre in her hometown, said afterwards: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted but the award is for the Hub. I’ll proudly display my award there, it’s just lovely.
“I just love people and helping them. I never expected this.”
She added she had been so surprised to receive the award, she nearly ‘inhaled the flowers’. According to the judges, Carol was crowned overall wnner for her ‘tireless commitment and ability to go about everything with a warm heart, sense of fun and generosity of spirit.’ “Through the hub she has used her own time and initiative to create a shared space for all at the heart of the community in Cookstown.”
“I would like to thank everyone who sent their well wishes and congratulations”, added Carol. “I am totally overwhelmed by the support I have had.
“To the past and present volunteers there are no words adequate to thank you for your dedication, to you the public thank you so much.
The Hub BT80, whose motto is ‘our place, your space’, provides drama, dance, music and arts and crafts workshops for people of all ages and backgrounds.