Kilrea teenager recognised for her community spirit

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A local teenager has been recognised as one of 20 finalists in the 2016 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards,

Carla McErlean from Kilrea, a pupil at Loreto College in Coleraine has been shortlisted in the initiative, that rewards post-primary students for outstanding acts of

volunteerism and the positive contribution they make in their local communities and further afield.

Carla is involved in helping to raise funds for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.

Since the loss of her best friend in September 2014 to a brain tumour, Carla has been motivated to do something out of the ordinary to make her friend proud by raising funds for cancer charities.

In November 2014, Carla organised ‘The Gooses,’ a skydive event with her closest friends in memory of her friend Anna, raising over £11,000 for Cancer Fund for Children, and was awarded Credit Union Volunteer of the Year Award 2014 for her volunteering efforts.

In May 2015, Carla coordinated ‘The Goosebury Festival,’ a special event held at Anna’s house which raised over £20,000 for Cancer Fund for Children and the Cancer Unit in Belfast.

She also coordinated fundraising nights out for Macmillan Cancer Support which raised a total of £3,500, and also joined the youth team of the Derry Diocese and

accompanied them on a five day pilgrimage to Lourdes in July 2015.

“At sixteen, she showed remarkable courage and maturity when she was facing the death of her best friend,” said Carla’s principal, Mr. James.

“She is a wonderful young person and a credit to herself, her family, her school, her community and to her friend Anna.”

Twenty post-primary students, who hail from all corners of Ireland, will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at a gala awards ceremony on 10th March at Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa, Donegal with special guest speaker Niall Breslin, Irish musician and former Westmeath Gaelic footballer

and Leinster Rugby player.