Maureen Kearney is a home-visiting volunteer and trustee at Home-Start Down District.  She has volunteered for Home-Start for 21 years.

See how she reacted to the news of her win, and hear what colleagues say about her contribution to Home-Start:

Maureen was nominated by staff at the Downpatrick-based charity. Speaking to her local paper about it she said: “What I get from volunteering is reward enough but I was delighted to receive the longest serving volunteer in Northern Ireland Award. I strongly believe in the work that Home Start does."

“I would highly recommend anyone with parenting experience to join the Home Start team and help families through challenging times.”

Dorothy McMullan, manager, said, “Maureen has helped many families through difficult circumstances. She continues to home visit and is our current chairperson . As we celebrate our 25th birthday this year, Maureen has been at the helm and is battling to keep our two offices open while our funding is cut. She has made a real difference to the lives of local families, creating a bank of childhood memories in the children’s lives she has supported.

“Recently a teenager stopped in the street and thanked her for the support she gave to his family years ago when he was a child. He said “we called you earring as you always wore big earrings and we loved the days you came to visit us.”

Before the awards ceremony, Maureen and the winners of the other Home-Start national volunteer award categories were treated to a pamper afternoon, courtesy of The White Rose School of Health and Beauty, and afternoon tea with Kirstie Allsopp.