When Louis met Jay Beatty

Overall Spirit of NI Winner Jay Beatty from Lurgan pictured with Louise Walsh and Specsavers Craigavon Store Director Jamie Stevenson.
Overall Spirit of NI Winner Jay Beatty from Lurgan pictured with Louise Walsh and Specsavers Craigavon Store Director Jamie Stevenson.
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Superboy Jay Beatty, who scooped the Overall Spirit of Northern Ireland award, is set to appear on a TV programme addressing Downs Syndrome.

Jay was given the award at a plush ceremony at the Culloden at the weekend by X Factor Judge Louis Walsh.

Overall Spirit of NI Winner Jay Beatty. showing off his new specs courtesy of Specsavers Craigavon, Rushmere Shopping Centre.

Overall Spirit of NI Winner Jay Beatty. showing off his new specs courtesy of Specsavers Craigavon, Rushmere Shopping Centre.

The awards recognise unsung community heroes - ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to help others - whose selflessness touches people’s hearts.

Celtic-mad Jay Beatty was presented with the Overall Spirit of Northern Ireland award for his work in raising awareness of Down’s Syndrome. In February he won 97 per cent of the votes for his half-time shot, which hit the back of the net during Celtic’s victory against Hamilton in the Scotttish Premiership - and became the only non-professional player to be awarded the Scottish Professional League ‘Goal of the Month’ award.

The 11-year-old Lurgan lad is part of a new 30 minute film for BBC Northern Ireland, in which Stephen Nolan meets five people with Down’s syndrome to find out the condition’s impact on their lives.

‘One Extra Chromosone’, on BBC One NI on Wednesday, 24 June, at 10.35pm, offers a glimpse into the lives of five individuals across a range of ages; from a 10 month old baby to the oldest person living with Down’s syndrome in the UK.

Overall Spirit of NI Winner Jay Beatty on stage with Louis Walsh

Overall Spirit of NI Winner Jay Beatty on stage with Louis Walsh

‘One Extra Chromosome’ is a Third Street production for BBC Northern Ireland.

Stephen speaks to Jay’s mum, Áine, about Jay’s attitude towards his Down’s syndrome.

She comments:

“He’s proud of the fact he has Down’s syndrome and we’re very proud of it.”

His father Martin says:

“For me, Jay’s Down‘s syndrome is a badge of honour. The old attitudes - the old stigmas - they are broken down and there is so much they can fulfil and so much they can do.

“Everybody says they want everything to be perfect, everything to be ideal. But what is perfect, what is ideal? For me, Jay is the most perfect person.”

Sunday Life editor Martin Breen added:

“We are delighted to celebrate the achievements of our local heroes who have done extraordinary things to help others.
“It was an amazing night and I know that everyone who was there couldn’t fail to be moved by the uplifting stories of selfless acts from some very special people.”

Not to be missed is a special one-hour programme on the awards, which is being shown on UTV on Friday, 19 June, at 9pm.