Brothers collect award for passionate Maria

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A COLERAINE woman has received a posthumous award for her inspiring work with young people.

Maria O’Boyle, who is originally from Kingsgate Street, worked at the Derry Youth and Community Centre for 27 years. She was named ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the Lions Awards, hosted by the City and Guilds organisation in London.

Sadly Maria died from cancer a few weeks before she was due to be presented with the award. But, her brothers Niall and James travelled to London to collect the award for their ‘very special sister’.

Maria was recognised for her work teaching essential skills at the Centre,

Many of her students said that without her guidance they wouldn’t have completed a qualification. Maria’s colleagues said her loss was widely felt but that her example continued to shape and inspire those at the Centre.

Maria’s brother Niall described her as a ‘very special sister’. Niall added that he was so proud to stand on the stage in London and see the entire audience give a standing ovation to his sister.

“We had no idea Maria has won this award, but we were so proud to go and recieve to on her behalf. It was a very special occasion for a very special girl, and I just adored her.”