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Chairperson's Civic Awards

Each year the Council recognises those people who have demonstrated outstanding service to the community, made a significant contribution to public life in Newry, Mourne and Down and have shown real dedication in helping local residents.

These awards give us the opportunity to show our gratitude and shine a light on the unsung heroes in our district who go above and beyond to improve the lives of others in an incredibly diverse range of areas. We always receive lots of nominations in respect of outstanding people in our community and it is never an easy task to select who should receive a civic award. This year's awards will be held on Friday 29 September in the Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle.

Chairperson's Civic Awards 2022

At last year's awards there were so many fantastic stories received, about sporting successes to the people making sport accessible to all; individuals who have battled incredibly difficult personal circumstances and how they have made lives better for others, and the community heroes in Newry, Mourne and Down who can always be relied on to be a helping hand to their neighbours. Every story was different, every volunteer so appreciated by the person that nominated them. We were delighted to be able to host a special Civic Awards Ceremony at the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle on Wednesday 7 September to highlight the major efforts made by 46 amazing individuals and organisations to the betterment of the district and to say thank you for their contribution.

Recipients were nominated for their contribution in the following six categories: Arts and Culture, Human Endeavour, Enterprise, Community and Voluntary, Fundraising and Sport.

Amongst the beneficiaries was five-year-old Aaron Walsh, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and Diplegia in his limbs which caused immeasurable pain.  Aaron underwent life changing surgery at St Louis Children’s Hospice in Missouri which thankfully has been very successful.  Aaron was presented with a Human Endeavour Civic Award for showing remarkable bravery.

Loretta Gribben and Helene Grant both won a Community and Voluntary Civic Awards for their important role in setting up Community First Responders groups in their local District Electoral Areas (DEA).  Both their ambition and drive to establish a trained Community Responders group in their respective areas were founded out of personal tragedies. They have helped facilitate the provision of a defibrillator and first aid training across Slieve Croob DEA and the Mournes DEA providing vital first aid assistance if the ambulance service is experiencing delays.

Patrick Morgan has a reputation as a community man who is always there to help.  He has helped numerous groups and charities over the years, raising thousands of pounds for each one. At 86 years young, Patrick was awarded with a Community and Voluntary Civic Award as a token of appreciation from the Council for being such an honourable, kind and generous person and leading community spirit right across the district.

Cyril McKinney has been a magnificent fundraiser for a variety of charities. He has devoted his life to helping others, amongst them are the most vulnerable in society.  Without question, Cyril goes the extra mile for his community and was a much-deserved receiver of a Community and Voluntary Civic Award.

Collie and Eithen Bell received the Special Recognition Civic Award in recognition of the hundreds of grieving families that they have helped. The couple,who following the tragic loss of their own beloved son Kevin in the United States in 2013 founded the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. This Trust aims to alleviate the financial hardships of bereaved families repatriating the body (bodies) of loved one(s) who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances back to Ireland. To date the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust has repatriated a staggering 1,365 loved ones who have passed away in every corner of teh world back to their bereaved families on the island of Ireland. These are just some of teh very special people that were acknowledged at the awards ceremony.

All the recipients we recognised for doing extraordinary things that make a positive contribution in their community.

Civic Award Winners 2022

Arts and Culture

Aoibheann Morgan, Lucia Morgan, Oisin Bradley, Cathleen Garland and Terry Cowan.

Human Endeavour

Aaron Walsh, Naomi Herron and Leanne Molloy.


Sophie McKnight, Aimee McComb and Ellen Bailie.

Community and Voluntary 

Loretta Gribben, Helene Grant, Owen Fegan, Kate Cahill, Georgina Jennings, Karen Patterson, Patrick Morgan, Richie Shilliday, Liam O’Rourke, Rev Stephen Smyth, Barry Kinney, Paddy Morgan, Esther Boyle, Cyril McKinney, Patricia Curran, Seamus Travers, Jim McDonnell, Bolster Community, Newcastle Lions Club, Downpatrick Town, Killyleagh Community Association, Meadow Armagh Road Community Association, Seamus McCabe – PIPS and Amy Fegan.


Paudy Smith, Geraldine Lowry, Sean Quinn and James McCaffrey.


Paula Galbraith, Tony Patterson, Gareth Keown, Peadar O’Dornin, Ruth Carvill, Declan and Helen Carvill.

Special Recognition

Collie and Eithne Bell.