Saturday, 13 June 2015

Once a winner, forever a winner

Three months ago, I issued a little call to arms: Help Wee Oliver WIN.

If you don't know the remarkable story about Oliver Dickey by now, you must've been been living under something hard and stoney.  In short, the once wheelchair-bound little man is now positively scooting around the place (Meep! Meep!)

In the year and a half since the Help Wee Oliver Walk campaign got under way, Master Dickey's tale has moved many, many people far beyond the streets of Coleraine.  It has also served as a source of inspiration for countless more, not least other children in need of SDR surgery and their parents.

"Nothing is impossible," somebody we probably all heard of once said.  They might even have said it more than once.  But whoever it was, Oliver Dickey has proven that they were spot on.

Given the impact he has had, it seemed obvious that Oliver should be nominated for a Spirit of Northern Ireland Award.

And, as a result of so many of you answering the plea, he was short-listed in the Overcoming Adversity category.

The ceremony took place last night and, if you don't already know, you can probably guess the rest: OF COURSE he won!

The event was recorded by Ulster Television and an edited version goes out in Northern Ireland next Friday (I think).  I'll put a link up when available for those of us living elsewhere.

But I understand his little video was very good.

I mean, look.

No doubt you, like me, are thrilled for Oliver, his mum Charlene, dad Neil and brother Max - all of whom I know had a night they'll never forget (apart from the bits shandy-drinking Neil probably can't remember).

Rewinding back to January 2014, the Help Wee Oliver Walk appeal began with a drive to recruit some household names to give it a bit of profile.  And for their help, everyone involved will be forever grateful to a long list of public figures including Barry McGuigan, Joan Collins, Lord Sugar, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Zoe Ball and Peter Andre (to name a mere few).

In the intervening period, Oliver has become famous in his own right with fellow celebs falling over themselves to get their photo taken with him.    

Last night, for example, deposed X Factor judge Louis Walsh was first in the queue for a career-boosting shot.

He was closely followed by Britain's Got Talent ninja Jesse Jane McParland, who also demanded a date - a "request" best not refused.

Sadly Oliver's Granny Florrie has to make do with Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody.

And Coronation Street bad boy Jim McDonald.

So she did.

That was all last night.  But this morning, the sun rose again and it was time for breakfast.

So why wouldn't Wee Oliver have his cornflakes with the Northern Ireland football team?

No reason whatsoever.

Good luck to the boys tonight in their crunch Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania.   

And well played Oliver