|Special Merit Award for Outstanding Marathon Mum Paula Delaney|
|Friday, 08 June 2012 13:17|
When South Belfast mum Paula Delaney decided to run the Belfast Marathon last month in memory of her late son, the story was one that pulled on the heart strings of people across the city. Following her exceptional effort, which encouraged an unprecedented level of participation as well as fundraising, the Belfast City Marathon Committee has now awarded Paula a Special Merit award in light of her outstanding contribution and strength
Her commitment to honour five year old Emmie’s memory in a way that reflected his passion for sport while also raising money for New Life Counselling, because she wanted to acknowledge the support we have provided to her and her family following their loss, inspired over 300 people to take part in the marathon event alongside Paula, her mum Pauline and Emmie’s big brother Pearse. Staff and well-wishers from St Bride’s Primary School, the South Belfast School attended by both Emmie and Pearse, were among those who participated and the school was also recognised with a £1000 award from the Marathon Committee for having the largest number of school entrants.
Paula and her 300-strong team of runners have so far raised an exceptional total of £23,500, though with contributions still coming in that figure is likely to increase to over £25,000 – five times her original target. The majority of the money will go to New Life Counselling.
Speaking after receiving her Special Merit award, Paula said: “The amount of money raised is absolutely amazing and I’m so touched that everyone has been so very generous. I’m just delighted to be able to help; New Life Counselling, in particular our counsellor Jane, has helped our family come to terms with losing Emmie and shown us that we are still able to focus on more positive things, like the marathon. Nothing I do will ever bring my darling Emmie back, but if we can leave a legacy of support for the New Life Counselling team then it won’t all be negative and Mum, Pearse and I can take a positive uplift from this.”
Chief Executive of New Life Counselling Karen Collins Neill paid tribute to the outstanding efforts of Paula and her family: “We’re so proud to have helped the Delaney family, and Paula is truly an exceptional lady who very much deserved the recognition of the Special Merit award. The money raised for New Life Counselling will go a long way in helping us to deliver much needed counselling services free of charge to those who need them. On behalf of all our team, I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone who helped raise money in memory of Emmie.”
Contributions can still be made in support of Paula and her team at https://www.justgiving.com/Paula-Delaney