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Belfast Live
Anna McAree

Foyle Pride award winners announced at emotional ceremony

This week, Foyle Pride fever has hit Derry with the long-awaited return of the popular festival.

There are plenty of events planned in the run up to the popular Pride parade taking place this Saturday August 27 at 2.00pm.

On Monday night the festivities kicked off with the annual Foyle Pride awards, created to recognise 'those that make a difference'.

Read more: Kellie Maloney delighted to visit Derry boxing club before headlining Pride event

Derry legend Micky Doherty was the host of the award ceremony which saw individuals and organisations recognised for the work they do for local communities.

It was an emotional evening, with many awards named after activists who are no longer with us, with their family and friends attending the ceremony to give out their respective awards.

Pictured at the Foyle Pride Awards 2022 are from left, Kathleen Bradley, Chairperson, Mary-Kay Mullan who presented the Helen Harris Award for Activism to Sonia Blakley, the Mayor Councillor Sandra Duffy and Michael Doherty, Compere (Martin McKeown)

The Helen Harris Award for Activism was given to Sonia Blakely, who received several nominations in recognition of her work with children and families living with autism.

Sonia said: "I just want to say a big thank you to all those who voted. This award is not just for me, it is for all the kids who strive every day to be accepted. I am so, so proud of this award tonight, thank you all."

The Sean Morrin Young Person's Award was given to 14-year-old student Anna Hamill at Foyle College, who led the way in creating a gender-neutral uniform policy for students attending the college to feel comfortable in themselves and in their studies.

Pictured at the Foyle Pride Awards 2022 are from left, Kathleen Bradley, Chairperson, Karen Morrin, who presented the Sean Morrin Young Person’s Award to Anna Hamill, Michael Doherty, Compere, the Mayor Councillor Sandra Duffy (Martin McKeown)

Host Micky Doherty praised Anna as "the future" and told her to "not let anything stand in her way."

The Trans Community Champion Award was presented by boxing promoter and Foyle Pride guest Kellie Maloney. The winner, Rachel Keys, was nominated for her voluntary efforts with a local charity and for her warmth to all in the community.

Pictured at the Foyle Pride Awards 2022 are from left, Kathleen Bradley, Chairperson, Kellie Maloney, who presented Rachael Keys with the Trans Community Awareness Award, the Mayor Councillor Sandra Duffy and Michael Doherty, Compere. (Martin McKeown)

The Terry McCartney Award for Social Awareness was awarded to Derry Girls creator, Lisa McGee, for the creation of the storyline within Derry Girls of Claire come out as a lesbian and be accepted by her friends for who she is.

In a statement, Lisa McGee said: "It is an absolute honour to receive this award in my home town and centre of the universe, Derry. Thank you so much, this means the world to me.

"Claire is such a special character for me and it was a joy to write her coming out scenes and her first kiss. I will miss writing about her. Here's to wee lesbians everywhere."

Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor, Councillor Sandra Duffy presents the Mark Ashton Award for Outstanding Contribution to the LGBTQ+ Community to Martin McConnell-Logue during the Foyle Pride Awards in the Guildhall (Martin McKeown)

The Mark Ashton Award for Outstanding Contribution to the LGBTQ+ Community was given to organiser and activist Martin McConnellogue for his dedication and support for the LGBTQ+ community and to Foyle Pride.

Martin said: "It is great to be here tonight. I want to thank everyone for this award, we have had some great times in the years, it has been 29 years since pride began in Derry. Good luck to everyone organising Foyle Pride this year. This week is a great week with a lot happening for Pride."

The LGBT+ Community Champion Award was given to Bernadette McFadden for the organisation of a Pride event night in Granny Annies which has created more opportunities for the community to come together and connect with each other. Due to this popular event there is now momentum for a monthly gay night in the city.

John Ferguson from Foyle Search and Rescue receives the inaugural Foyle Pride Humanitarian award from the Mayor Councillor Sandra Duffy (Martin McKeown)

A new award was created to recognise the efforts of an incredibly special organisation in the city, Foyle Search and Rescue. The efforts of volunteers in saving lives across the city and providing comfort to many was recognised through the Humanitarian Award.

John Ferguson, Foyle Search and Rescue volunteer said the organisation was "humbled" by the nomination. He said: "We do not do it for recognition, we do it just to be human. Thank you very much."


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