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Posted By:
Ulster Tatler

18th Sep 2023

TV star Pamela Ballantine receives Lifetime Achievement Award at Belfast City Hall

ONE of Northern Ireland’s best loved TV celebrities Pamela Ballantine has been awarded with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement accolade at the 16th annual Ulster Tatler Awards 2023, which took place last night (Thursday) at Belfast City Hall, Belfast.

The south Belfast-born star joins a growing list of local luminaries who have picked up the award in the past, including Dame Mary Peters OBE, Sir James Galway, Brian Friel, Phil Coulter, Gloria Hunniford, Michael Longley, Gerry Armstrong, Barry McGuigan, Terri Hooley, Marie Jones, Ciaran Hinds, Pat Jennings, John Linehan, and pianist Barry Douglas MBE, who was honoured at last year’s ceremony.

Educated at Richmond Lodge (now known as Victoria College) on the Malone Road, Pamela began her career in the media as a secretary at Downtown Radio, where she rapidly progressed to become a news reporter before being offered her own programme at the station.

She later worked for BBC Radio Ulster as a morning presenter before making the move in 1983 to UTV, where she has since spent the majority of a very successful career.

Starting as a continuity announcer and news presenter, Pamela has presented a variety of popular TV shows, including RPM, Ulster Schools Quiz, Hot Pursuits, Telethon, Farming Ulster and more.  She once even acted as a relief weather presenter.

Currently, she is on our screens every week presenting the popular magazine programme UTV Life – which she has fronted for the last 10 years.

Just last month, Pamela announced that she had successfully undergone treatment for breast cancer.

Speaking candidly at the time about her experience, with her typical frankness and humour, she said:  “Seven months ago I had to tell my family and friends I have breast cancer. Seven months on I can tell them that I don’t. I’m hopefully going to be annoying the bejesus out of you for a long time to come.”

On receiving her award, Pamela received a huge standing ovation from a full house of more than 400 guests at the ceremony.

Fellow TV personality and sports commentator Jim Neely presented Pamela with the Lifetime Achievement Award and, in his citation, said: “Pamela is arguably the most well-known, well respected and accomplished media personality that this country has ever produced.  As if that wasn’t enough, she is a thoroughly decent person.  She is the closest thing we have to a national treasure.”

Ulster Tatler managing editor Chris Sherry added: “Pamela is unquestionably one of the most versatile presenters working today and one a rare breed of media personalities who has the unique ability to communicate with everyone from Kings and Queens to mega stars and everyone else in between.

“She has been a constant presence in our lives for over four decades and is as busy as ever on many fronts, doing lots of charity and community work, over and above her busy media work.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have Pamela present our awards on numerous occasions and, when we were deciding back in January who to recognize at this year’s awards, the panel unanimously agreed that this was Pamela’s year so we were delighted to turn the tables and surprise her on the night,” said Chris.     

Other big winners on the night, which was hosted by Cool FM presenter Rebecca McKinney, included Belfast Giants Head Coach and former Captain Adam Keefe, who was named Sportsperson of the Year after the Giants won an amazing Elite League, Challenge Cup and Play-Offs treble last season.

The Celebrity of the Year award was won by Belfast actor James Martin who became the first actor with Down Syndrome to win an Oscar following his performance in the Academy Award-winning short film ‘An Irish Goodbye’.

The Ulster Tatler Special Merit Award 2023 was presented to Ulster and Ireland rugby legend Rory Best.

Born in Poyntzpass, County Armagh, Rory played for Ulster a record 218times and has 124 Ireland caps as well as 60 points to his name.

In an immense career, he captained Ireland from 2016 until 2019 and Ulster from 2007 to 2019. He was also in the British and Irish Lions squads in 2013 and 2017.

Winners in other categories included:

Outstanding Contribution to Fashion:    Nuala Meenehan (East Belfast)

Business Man of the Year:                         Brendan McDowell, BPerfect Cosmetics (Belfast)

Business Woman of the Year:                  Elizabeth Sands, Elizabeth Sands Beauty School (Portadown)

Arts Personality of the Year:             Simon Hylands, Building Bridges Community Arts Theatre (Lurgan)

Spa of the Year:                                           Killeavy Castle (Newry)

Beauty Salon of the Year:                          Karan Francis, Health and Beauty Clinic (Moira)

Hotel of the Year:                                        The Grand Central Hotel (Belfast)

Fashion Boutique of the Year:                  Cameo Boutique (Doagh, Ballyclare)

Interior Designer of the Year:                   Shauna Stewart, Velvet Interiors (Magherafelt)

Personal Trainer of the Year:                    Geraldine McAleenan (Newry)

Hairdressing Salon of the Year:                Alchemy Hair (Ballyclare)

Restaurant of the Year:                              Holohan’s Pantry, (Belfast)

Coffee House of the Year:                         Brew & Bake (Lisburn Road, Belfast)

Family Business of the Year:                     Chapmans Farm Fresh (Portadown)

Aesthetic Clinic of the Year:                      Dr Bonny Armstrong (Belfast)