Watch: Tsunami hero Willie Gregg is our first ever Lifetime Achiever award recipient

Willie Gregg is the first ever winner of the Lifetime Achievement award sponsored by Coleraine Times, Ballymoney Times and Roe Valley Sentinel.

Willie started Willie’s Orphan Fund as a reaction to the horrors of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Asia.

Graeme Huston, Editorial Director of Johnston Press NI, presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to Willie Gregg.

Graeme Huston, Editorial Director of Johnston Press NI, presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to Willie Gregg.

In the immediate aftermath he was pivotal in gathering support for fishermen in the area, helping to rebuild boats and buy nets. He also helped farmers and people in the area as they started to clear the land and rebuild homes. It soon became clear that there were hundreds of orphaned children in the country and they really needed help.

Willie forged relationships with an orphanage and took on the responsibility of supporting the education of the children. And he has been doing just that ever since, with his vast network of supporters who have backed him in all his work over the intervisening years. He has organised untold numbers of fundraisers across the country and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help the orphans.

Willie has been recognised for his amazing fundraising work and recently received a personal letter from the Prime Minister Theresa May to celebrate his work. But, it is Willie at the centre of it all. His personality, his drive, his enthusiasm and his honest, no-nonsense approach to supporting the children, that is what keeps the charity going.

The popular Portrush bar manager received a standing ovation as he walked to the stage to collect his award at last week’s Causeway Coast and Glens Awards gala, held at the Royal Court Hotel last Thursday evening.