Charlene is up for spirit award

Charlene Barr. INLM4410-123gc
Charlene Barr. INLM4410-123gc

A DOLLINGSTOWN girl’s belief in the face of adversity has seen her nominated as an unsung hero at a major awards ceremony.

Charlene Barr, who passed away last October, has been nominated for a Spirit of Northern Ireland Unsung Hero award.

Charlene established Charlene’s Project with the aim of setting up Hidden Treasure Primary School for the children of Maya in Africa.

Her father Dickie said being nominated for an award was at odds with Charlene’s attitude towards her vision for Maya.

He said: “It was Charlene’s dream to make a difference but she was never comfortable with the publicity side of things.

She understood the project needed publicity to raise money but Charlene preferred not to be in the limelight. She had a quietness and a humility about the whole thing.

“Only about a week before she died she said she couldn’t see the impact she was making. She said she hadn’t done anything with her life.

“Charlene was so humble she couldn’t see the great thing she was doing.”

Dickie added: “She’d raised £120,000 by the time she died. It’s now up to £180,000.

“We are hoping to take this on, set up a health project and finance projects and fund different initiatives and plans. From reading Charlene’s diaries we have learned of her vision. She has left us a task to complete.

“Charlene had incredible belief in the people of Northern Ireland and that’s been proved in the support the project has got.”

Charlene was able to harness the power of social networking to help make her vision a global charity.

Dickie said: “It’s amazing to see messages on Facebook from children who have benefited from the school that was Charlene’s vision.”

Of the award Dickie concluded: “We’ll see how it pans out. It would be lovely if she did win it, but just being shortlisted is important.”

The Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards, sponsored by Sunday Life and Specsavers, will take place in the Ramada Hotel on Monday, June 6. They will be presented by Stacy Solomon.