Vote for your Person to be Proud of 2013

WE have our final shortlist for Portadown’s Person to be Proud of 2012. Many thanks to everyone who nominated. Now it’s up to you, our readers, to vote for our winner. Here is our list of finalists.

1, Maureen Clarke - Maureen set up the Angels of Hope ovarian cancer charity after her daughter’s death from the disease and has been a superb campaigner over many years.

2, Eddie Drury - As well as many other projects, Eddie organised the ‘Love Week’ in Thomas Street Methodist Church, he is also heavily involved with the Boys’ Brigade, the annual pantomime and he also provides Christian counselling and practical support to those in need. He is very well known as Portadown’s town centre postman.

3, Bill Emerson - Bill will mark 18 years at Shamrock Park this summer – with the Portadown Football Club commercial secretary considered a crucial cog in the Irish League machine. Bill arrived at Portadown having opted to switch football codes from the Chambers Park rugby fraternity. Across almost two decades of service, Bill has become established as a point of contact for visitors, officials and supporters from around the game. His daily duties cover any number of administrative commitments in domestic and European football.

4, Joan Ferguson - The mother-of-four has been a familiar face in the High Street premises of Cordners Shoes for more than four decades. The person who nominated Joan was so impressed with the way she dealt with her child who has Down’s Syndrome that she nominated Joan. Joan, who now works part-time, has taken a great pleasure in helping customers with their every demand. Away from work she describes herself as a real family woman.

5, Lesley Harrison - the Portadown man who captured the public imagination by feeding the pigeons in the town centre over the last few years. One of the town’s best known faces, he was taken to court but no charges were brought.

6, David and John Hoy of Hoy’s Butchers - a joint nomination, the owners of the butchers’ shop in Bridge Street are highly respected in Edenderry. They are involved in the Edenderry Historical Society and continue to run a successful business, despite the well publicised traffic problems in Edenderry in 2012.

7, Jim McKittrick - Jim received the MBE for his services to the Boys’ Brigade movement and to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. He is still heavily involved with First Portadown Presbyterian Church through their Nightlife charity.

8, Flo McKeever - Flo began her career in Portadown as a district nurse, rising to be a team leader who mentored many teams in the medical field. Before retiring last year, she held a senior management role, helping to initiate many health prevention policies. Flo took a career break to own and run The Famous Grouse restaurant. Before returning to nursing, she attended university. She sits on numerous committees, giving time to bodies such as Women’s Aid and Marie Curie. Flo is also an enthusiastic fundraiser for Cancer Research. She was selected to participate in a nationwide experiment researching breast cancer.

9, Walter McElroy - Walter has been nominated in recognition of his remarkable 40 years as groundsman for Portadown Football Club. Walter has been taking care of the Shamrock Park pitch for four decades and received a fully deserved testimonial from the club in July 2011.

10, Kate Richardson - In early 2012, Portadown woman Kate and her international crew completed the Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000-mile row from the Canary Islands to Barbados to raise awareness of the growing problem of human trafficking and, by completing the journey in under 46 days, set a new world record for an all-female crew. The youngest of the five women, Kate (22) became the first female from the island of Ireland to have rowed right across the Atlantic. In December 2012, she received the ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year’ and overall ‘Northern Ireland Woman of the Year’ titles at the Belfast Telegraph Women of the Year Awards. Kate is also a youth convenor for Celebration Church.

11, Gordon Speers- Gordon has been conductor of Portadown Male Voice Choir for 36 years and conductor of Portadown Ladies’ Choir for 22 years. A member of St Mark’s Church choir for 59 years, as president of Portadown Rotary Club on three occasions he has raised upwards of £100,000 for charity.

12, Stuart Stevenson - The proprietor of Interflora in Castle Street is nominated for the role his business has played in Portadown over a long number of years.

13, Kenneth Twyble - The long-serving Portadown councillor was appointed lay leader designate of the Methodist Church in Ireland and will take up the role in June. As well as his public representative duties he is pastoral assistant on the Cranagill and Charlemont Circuit of the Portadown Methodist Circuit.

14, Kenneth Vennard - Kenneth won the Northern Ireland Pride of Britain Award for his 60 years’ service to the Boys’ Brigade. He and his wife Jenny went to the national finals in London in the presence of the Prince of Wales. His devotion to his wheelchair-bound wife Jenny and to 7th Portadown Boys’ Bridge (Edenderry Methodist) is legendary.

15, Colin Weir - Colin has fought relentlessly for the rights of the stallholders in Portadown, especially when they moved from the old central markets to the new Millennium Court facilities in William Street. Colin is a well-known face in the town each Friday and Saturday, providing fruit, vegetables and eggs with a smile on his face.

16, Steven Wright - As chairman of First Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association, he has seen nearly 30 new members join the association in 2012 with close on 100 on the books in total. Steven has done a fine job throughout the year as stadium announcer at Portadown Football Club.

To vote, text as instructed at the bottom of page or fill in the below copy and send to Portadown Person to be Proud of, Portadown Times, 2 Esky Drive, Portadown, BT63 5YY. Voting will close next Friday, March 1 at 4pm. The four main shopping centres, Asda, Magowan West, The Meadows and High Street Mall, will be donating shopping vouchers to our winner, totalling £400 in value.