New nominees for our Person to be Proud of

Kate Richardson.
Kate Richardson.

THE Portadown Times has received five more nominations in our competition to find the person who made Portadown most proud in 2011.

In last week’s Portadown Times, we revealed that Gordon Speers, Eddie Drury, Arthur Cassidy, Derek Poole, Lt Col Colin Weir and Earle West had been nominated by you, our readers.

The final shortlist will be announced in next week’s paper. The latest nominees are:

Twenty-one-year-old Portadown woman KATE RICHARDSON is part of the Row for Freedom all-female crew rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. They have spent almost seven weeks at sea after setting off from Tenerife in the Canary Islands in December.

The crew remain on track to break the world record of 52 days for an unaided Atlantic crossing for an all-female crew. They are expected to reach the finishing point in Barbados over the next couple of days.

RACHELLE LIGGETT, who won a battle with childhood leukaemia and enjoyed an incredible 2011. She won the title of Miss Oyster Pearl 2011 and was crowned Miss Portadown 2011. She represented the town in the UK and Ireland grand final where she won the title of Miss Ireland 2011/12. Rachelle subsequently represented Portadown internationally in the world final held in the Philippines.

Rachelle has also worked as a volunteer in the Cancer Research shop in Portadown and has raised money for other charities. She is also helping establish local charity Angel House and is travelling to India this year to build a rescue centre for abandoned baby girls.

IRENE McCANN - The Irene McCann School of Irish Dancing is legendary in Portadown, with Irene teaching the noble art for nigh on 50 years.

Hundreds of girls - and a sprinkling of boys - have won prizes galore in festivals and other competitions throughout Ireland thanks to Irene’s wonderful expertise. Irene, at the height of her own dancing days, was an Irish Champion, and trained a few to that wonderful standard over the years.

Her quiet commitment to her young charges has been an important element in making Portadown a main centre of Irish dancing, long before ‘Riverdance’ turned it into a world phenomenon, and her legacy will last for generations.

Irene has also been a pillar of the dancing element of Portadown Festival, and she has taught mothers and their daughters in abundance during a truly wonderful period, committing most of her spare time to the culture.

The chairman of Portadown Philatelic Society JOHN PROCTOR has served the community for many years. A stalwart of 1st Portadown (Thomas Street Methodist) Boys’ Brigade, he went on to be an officer in the company, and organised many of its activities. He still serves Methodism faithfully, through the church at Mahon.

He played football at junior level for many years, spent most of his working life as an accountant in industry, and all the while one of his all-embracing hobbies was collecting stamps and various memorabilia.

He has really placed Portadown on the collectables map, organising the annual ‘Stampex’ exhibition in the Town Hall, attracting collectors and professionals from all over Ireland and from the GB mainland.

It is, indeed, a specialist sector, and from its humble beginning some years ago, the ‘Stampex’ event has become one of the leading events for collectors of stamps and memorabilia throughout the British Isles.

Nobody has done more work for the migrant population of Portadown than STEPHEN SMITH, who - along with his devoted wife Hetty - is in charge of the Craigavon Intercultural Programme, based at Mandeville Street.

The Smiths are ideal for the job, having served in a missionary capacity in Portugal, through the ‘ACRE’ organisation, and having decided to come home to Portadown six years ago when the migrant population here was growing.

They and their son and daughter are fluent Portuguese speakers, and they have since learned Polish and Lithuanian so that they can converse with most migrants in the area and help them with their communication and various other problems.

They also run sporting activities, classes for women and events for children, helping them settle in their new surroundings.

Hetty recently received a Mayor’s Award, and Stephen, says his nominator, also deserves recognition for his important work.

You can still nominate other people for the award. Email or contact Times editor Alistair Bushe on 028 38 336111. The closing date for nominations is this Monday, January 23.

Voting for the award DOES NOT START until the final list of nominees is published in next week’s paper.

The winner will receive £100 of shopping vouchers from each of Portadown’s shopping centres, and a watch provided by Nigel O’Hara Jewellers.