A tribute to local victims of the Covid-19 pandemic will form part of this year's virtual Aisling Awards ceremony on Thursday 10 December.
Families are being asked to submit a photo of their loved ones for a special collage of pictures certain to highlight the heavy toll the coronavirus has taken on the local community.
According to NISRA, 1,301 people have died of complications arising from Covid-19 since the pandemic struck in mid-March. Of that number around 330 or 25 per cent hail from Belfast.
Among the much-loved local heroes who were lost to the virus were:
- Former North Belfast blanketman John Thomas
- St Teresa's GAC veteran Paddy McIlvenny
- Long Kesh Fire veteran and republican stalwart from Turf Lodge John 'Johnny' Burns
- Disability campaigner Vincent 'Vinty' Macklin
- Community champion Geraldine Kane
- St Gall's powerhouse Gerry Higgins
- LGBT campaigner Tarlach Mac Niallais (New York)
- Frankie 'Mr Belfast' Benson (Toronto)
- NHS Charities fundraiser from Newtownabbey Catherine Fox
- Saints ABC founder Harry Cunningham snr.
While this year's Aisling gala in the Europa Hotel had to be scotched due to the Covid crisis, the show will go on virtually from the NIAVAC studio in East Belfast with emcee Barra Best but without a physical audience.
Instead, the public is being urged to register online to watch the live awards from 7pm on 10 December as the event honours The Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic.
Said Belfast Media Group managing director Máirtín Ó Muilleoir: "This has been the toughest of years but it was also a year when we saw the very best of this community in terms of its resilience, generosity and refusal to lie down even in the face of a global pandemic. We'll be saluting that indomitable spirit at the 24th annual Aisling Awards and raising a glass to those who went the extra mile to haul us through this ordeal."
Among the organisations and institutions shortlisted for this year's awards, which are sponsored by permier partner Open University, Staffline, Let's Go Hydro, TG4, Foras na Gaeilge, Kennedy Centre and Connected Health, are: Andersonstown Social Club, Huhtamaki, Ardoyne/Pearses GAC, An Chultúrlann and LORAG.
Voting has opened for the Sports Award and the shortlist for the Urban Villages award will be revealed next week.
The identity of the Person of the Year will not be revealed until the evening of the event. Previous Persons of the Year include Naomi Long, Alex Maskey, Geraldine Finucane, Inez McCormack, Fr Alex Reid and Caitríona Ruane.