The Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards, in partnership with Ulster Bank, took place Thursday 19 August at the Culloden Hotel, where Power NI sponsored the Caring Spirit Award.
Among this year’s winners was Philip and Alison Armstrong, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Phillip and Alison Armstrong, from Cookstown, showed their caring spirit when they reached out to a friend in need, Leon. Philip and Leon became friends when they met in the RAF many years ago but had sadly lost touch. After becoming reconnected on Facebook, Philip noticed that his friend was going through a rough time. Leon had lost his job as a taxi driver due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in seeing this Philip knew he needed to help his old friend.
In a touching Facebook post, Philip wrote “I knew straight away if I didn’t help, he was going to spiral in to somewhere no one needed to be.”
The Armstrong family rallied to Leon’s aid helping secure a new job, a car, even a home and in October, with the help of Alison and Philip, Leon left England to start over.
Just as thing started to get back on track Leon was diagnosed with a tumour in his lung, which became terminal. Philip and Alison once again reached out to help their friend in need, nursing him through his illness. Leon sadly passed away in June.
The Armstrongs never expected any recognition for helping their friend, making winning the Caring Spirit award a surprise.
Speaking to the Sunday Life, Phillip said: “I feel absolutely honoured for anyone to even think about nominating us. We didn’t do it for recognition. No one would even have known about it if Leon hadn’t died. This is a real honour.”