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Killyclogher's Dervla receives prestigious 'Diana Award' and mixes it with Royalty

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Killyclogher's Dervla receives prestigious 'Diana Award' and mixes it with Royalty thumbnailThe Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and Prince Harry with Dervla Dolan at the awards ceremony in St James's Palace, London, on Thursday last.

KILLYCLOGHER schoolgirl, Dervla Dolan, was the worthy recipient of a prestigious 'Diana Award' in London on Thursday last - one of only 20 young people in the world to receive the accolade this year.

Dervla is the sister of the late Enda Dolan, who was so tragically killed in Belfast in October 2014 when a drunken driver mounted the footpath and struck him with his vehicle.

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry presented the Legacy Awards to the recipients at a prestigious ceremony in St James's Palace for creating positive social change in their communities. They came from the UK, United States, Canada, India, Belize and the United Arab Emirates.

The Duke paid tribute to his late mother, Princess Diana, saying she still inspires "countless acts of compassion and bravery".

He and Prince Harry were making their first joint appearance at an event run by the 'Diana Award', established to promote their mother's belief in the positive power of young people. Over 1,000 were nominated initially, but this was whittled down by the judges to 163 and then to the final 20 award winners.

Diana Award holders come from all walks of life and many have challenging and disadvantaged backgrounds, however they share a deep sense of social responsibility. They could be giving up their time to mentor other students, a young carer, taking part in anti-bullying initiatives, fundraising or campaigning for a cause close to their heart. Whatever they are doing, they have one thing in common, a desire to make a difference and improve the lives of others.

Dervla was nominated by a teacher in Loreto Grammar School, Omagh, Mrs Mary Gavin, head of pastoral care, following her efforts to make a change there. The 18-year-old, who is also deputy head girl, formed a running club, 'Loreto Goes Running', which involves approximately 70 members. These girls recently took part in the 'Run for Enda' 5k in Omagh. She is also deeply involved in the work of the Enda Foundation, which was set up in memory of her late brother to help young people achieve their goals.

Dervla said she was happy one of the reasons she received the award was due to her work with the Enda Foundation.

"I would encourage other communities to think about running. It really helped me to overcome things. It has physical and mental benefits and can help people get out there and make a change in their lives and that is so important," she said.

She said the ceremony was very exciting with both HRH Prince William and HRH Prince Harry playing an active role in the event.

"They were really nice, really friendly and wanted to know about I had done and what I knew about Diana and her legacy. We all spoke to them for about 10 minutes each and they actually presented us with the awards," she said.

Dervla is currently doing her A Levels and she hopes to become a teacher.

There was one other winner from Northern Ireland - Gareth Browne, 16, from Shantallow, Londonderry, who despite losing both his parents in the same year is described as "giving hope to everyone he meets".

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