IN recognition of his phenomenal fundraising, Dungiven man Andrew Smyth has been crowned as the overall SuperValu Action Cancer SuperStar, at a glittering awards ceremony in Titanic Hotel Belfast.
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.
Andrew was also honoured with the Fundraising SuperStar title alongside Leisa Smith from Derry city, who received the Unsung SuperStar award.
Karen Gallen from Limavady, also received the Action Cancer SuperStar award; at the ceremony which recognised over 30 inspirational individuals from across Northern Ireland.
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, Action Cancer SuperStar and the overall SuperValu Action Cancer SuperStar award; 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.
Derry photographer Leisa Smith received the Unsung SuperStar award for donating 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.
Limavady’s Karen is a Super Star
SuperValu Limavady staff member Karen Hargan was honoured with the Action Cancer SuperStar, a long serving member of staff and an outstanding fundraiser who has helped SuperValu Limavady to raise over £25,000 for Action Cancer.
Brendan Gallen, Head of Marketing, Musgrave, said: “We were delighted to announce Andrew Smyth 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 would also like to congratulate Leisa Smith and Karen Gallen, as well as all of our SuperValu SuperStars winners, who have both made outstanding contributions to their community.
“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.”