Prestigious accolade for North Belfast Harriers

Phillip McGarry, Matt Sheilds, Walter Rader OBE DL, Vice Lord Lieutenant Sir Niger Hamilton KCB, Paddy McCambridge, Margaret Stephens, Cllr John Finucane, Adrian Donaldson and Nigel Carr.
Phillip McGarry, Matt Sheilds, Walter Rader OBE DL, Vice Lord Lieutenant Sir Niger Hamilton KCB, Paddy McCambridge, Margaret Stephens, Cllr John Finucane, Adrian Donaldson and Nigel Carr.

Volunteers from North Belfast Harriers were presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by Her Majesty’s Vice Lord Lieutenant, Sir Nigel Hamilton KCB, of the County Borough of Belfast at a recent ceremony.

The event took place in Girdwood Community Hub on August 22.

The award is the highest form of civic recognition that can be granted to an organisation in recognition of the outstanding work of volunteers.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr John Finucane said: “I want to congratulate everyone involved with North Belfast Harriers for this fantastic achievement.

“The selfless work carried out by the volunteers within the club to help people better themselves is truly humbling. We’re lucky to have such a dedicated network of volunteers throughout Belfast across a range of organisations.”

Margaret Stephens, Co-Chair of North Belfast Harriers added: “Being nominated for and receiving the QAVS is an honour. Our volunteers give a lot and without them we wouldn’t be able to give our community the service we do.

“We all get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing the improvements both mentally and physically in the people we coach. Although we don’t do this for praise or recompense, this award is priceless.”

The Northern Ireland Representative for the Award, Walter Rader OBE DL said: “This is a wonderful achievement for North Belfast Harriers as it recognises the dedication, commitment and skills of volunteers who every day of the week invest their time to help others.”

Groups at North Belfast Harriers operate from thier clubhouse Monday to Thursday each week, catering for around 80 people from all walks of life, who have continued in running since completing a couch to 5k programme with the club.

The club deliver six couch to 5k programmes at two locations each year with between 300 and 350 participants taking part across the different programmes.

In addition to the recreational element of the club, they have the competitive seniors and juniors comprising around 30 seniors and 70 juniors training twice weekly at organised training sessions.

All of this is managed by a team of around 30 volunteer coaches who deliver planned programmes specific to each group’s needs.