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Ballymoney
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Bushmills woman recognised as ‘Spirit of NI COVID-19 Hero’
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Local Bushmills woman, Leanne Abernethy, has been recognised for her work in managing a community response to the COVID-19 crisis within the village.

The Spirit of NI COVID-19 Hero awards are a joint venture between the Sunday Life and Ulster Bank, as a replacement to this years ‘Spirit of NI’ awards ceremony, which was canceled.

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Recognising individuals who have contributed to their community’s during these uncertain time’s, Leanne who is just one of a number of individuals recognised this week, told the Sunday Life:

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“I started up a Facebook page and it went from there. It has been absolutely brilliant. I have been blown away by the support from business and the community by donating.”

The group, which is called Bushmills Coronavirus Support group, have been involved in various responses – from making and distributing hot meals & food parcels, delivery of medications and making sure the most vulnerable are safe & well.

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The volunteers also took the opportunity while life had become quieter and slower paced, to tidy and make improvements to the local village, in preparation for the gradual lifting of restriction and eventual return to a new normal for the popular tourist village.

Talking about wanting to see the group continuing to support the village, Leanne went on to tell the paper:

“We are going to keep going but it will be a basic level through community projects with the kids in the village.”

Those receiving the award are presented with a certificate and a £150 food voucher, but despite the award bearing her name, modest Leanne has dedicated it to the community:

“We, as a group, are absolutely delighted to receive this award for the work that has been done in Bushmills, Portballintrae and surrounding areas throughout the pandemic.

“However, the group couldn’t do what we are doing without the never ending support from the community. So, Bushmills and Portballintrae, this award is for you!”

Concluding Leanne said:

“Congratulations to everyone for making sure that we as a community have looked after and supported each other in true community style.”

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