A local man who turned his life around, after his mother was killed in front of him, has been nominated for a The Prince’s Trust award.
Craig Walker (25) is the son of Zara Walker, who was killed in her Coleraine home back in 1998.
The death had a devastating effect on Craig, who left school at 13, and sought comfort in alcohol.
However at the age of 20, he became a father to a little girl whom he named Zara in memory of his mother, and Craig turned his life around.
Little Zara gave Craig a reason to live, and he found temporary bar work however a year later the bar closed down. Other applications for work failed and when his grandmother died, Craig fell to a new low. Memories of his mother’s death haunted him; he became agoraphobic and couldn’t leave his house for three years.
Craig then realised he had to change things for the benefit of his daughter.
The local man turned his life around, thanks to a programme called ‘Make Your Mark’, an employability programme run in partnership between The
Prince’s Trust and Marks and Spencer.
“Zara looked at me and said, “Daddy, can I have an ice cream?” and I just felt so useless and ashamed. I had no money and couldn’t get her one. Seeing her face crumble made me realise I had to turn my life around, for her sake and for my family,” told Craig.
The local man won the Northern Ireland Rising Star Award from the Prince’s Trust charity a few months ago.
And, has since been nominated to go through to the national final which will be held at the Palladium in London on March 7.
“It’s been 17 years since my mum died, and for the first time since then I feel like I’ve got a future I can actually look forward to. The Prince’s Trust gave me a second chance at life. They gave me and my family hope and as a consequence of that second chance, I’ve now got a job I love and a new home.”
Craig plans to give his family a happy and healthy life.