John ‘is always trying to help other people’

John, second from left, with fellow Red Cross volunteers.
John, second from left, with fellow Red Cross volunteers.

A Portadown man who fosters three children, is a trade union representative and also finds time to work as a Red Cross volunteer has been nominated for an award.

John Creaney is one of 36 finalists across Northern Ireland in the running for the SuperValu Superstars award.

The awards recognise people who go out of their way to help others and bring about positive change in their communities.

John was nominated by fellow Craigavon Hospital worker Patricia Murray who said he “never stops going out of his way to help everyone”.

The 34-year-old healthcare support worker and his wife Ciara have fostered three siblings, aged between 3-8 years, for the past two years in what he describes as an “amazing, challenging experience”.

He also volunteers with the Red Cross Craigavon group and is a community representative for the SDLP, stressing that he helps everyone irrespective of whatever side of the community they come from.

In addition, this year he has been seconded to trade union Unison as branch secretary.

And it’s not all serious either. Just a few months ago, John entered the Southern Trust’s Strictly Come Dancing competition, raising £6,000 for Marie Curie.

John’s work with the community began at an early age. He said, “When I was about 17 I took people out to Lourdes with the Armagh diocese.

“Two years later I became a volunteer with St John Ambulance and was assistant unit leader for 14 years, co-ordinating ambulance cover for patients in the southern area.”

When the Boxing Day tsunami struck in 2006, John took three months’ unpaid leave from his job and went to work at an orphanage in India where he trained staff in First Aid and helped to renovate an orphanage.

He said, “If I can put a smile on somebody’s face by helping them, then that has made my day. I’m still in shock to be nominated.”

The winner will be announced on November 22. The prize is a five-star holiday.