STRABANE businesses have given a warm glow to the local heroes of the coronavirus crisis by sponsoring £100 Strabane gift cards as a way to say thank you to those who have given most during this challenging time.

Local people showed their support for the lockdown initiative by making nominations online for the many worthy winners. Each week, one was chosen at random for their acts of kindness or community spirit, with their £100 Strabane gift card provided by one of the town’s generous business owners.

Elaine Griffin was the first week’s winner with the prize sponsored by MK’s Bar. Elaine provides complex care for seriously ill patients as an ICU nurse. Andrea Gillespie, a full-time care worker, was the second winner with her prize sponsored by Craft Training.

Teresa Stewart received a prize sponsored by O’Neills Sportswear. Tribute was paid to Teresa for always putting others first, not just during lockdown, but at all times.

Brian McNamee was praised for all his hard work at Springhill Youth Club supporting local young people, particularly during all the changes brought about by the pandemic. His prize was sponsored by Subway.

Lynn Maguire, the winner of the gift card sponsored by Dolan’s Nisa, was hailed for her dedication to the community of Fountain Street, ‘always putting herself forward for everything and anything needed for the community’.

Mark McDermott from Vivo in Ballycolman, who won one of the gift cards, once again sponsored by Craft Training, was recognised for going ‘above and beyond providing meals for the community’ and ‘loads more’.

Keira Breslin was a deserving winner of the prize sponsored by Masala. Keira ‘managed with a brave smile and a look to the future’ despite having to postpone her wedding, her daughter’s First Holy Communion and her son’s Confirmation, while carrying out her care work, studying for her degree in nursing and homeschooling her three children!

Toiresa O Cuaig won the prize sponsored by Caffe Milano for spreading joy and happiness wherever she goes in Strabane, while Jean Mullen deserved a treat, sponsored by My Local Ordering App, for raising £1000 for local charities by making fairy gardens – despite having been through stage four cancer.

‘Unsung hero’ Roisin McGlinchey was the winner of a gift card sponsored by the Strabane Chronicle, for giving her time and her heart to various charity efforts around the town, while Sinead McDermott was awarded the prize sponsored by Talk Shalk for her work on the frontline as a nurse in Altnagelvin Hospital during the pandemic – and still smiling through everything. Our second last Hero to be announced was Amanda Cook who won a gift card sponsored by Murphy’s on the Green for her work as a carer.

With our final Hero to be announced next week, kindly sponsored by Oysters Restaurant, the Strabane Hero campaign has been a resounding success. This campaign further highlights the caring side of the town’s business owners who value their local communities and the individuals within them who make a real difference to the lives of those around them, even in the midst of a global pandemic. There’s no shortage of civic pride around Strabane these days!