SISTER RITA Lee has been announced as the 2018 Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award winner ahead of The Irish Post Awards this week.
The Cork native will be honoured on the night when live coverage of the Awards kicks off on TG4 this Thursday, November 14 at 9.30pm.
A native of Cork city, Sister Rita Lee left her hometown in Ireland in 1961, at the age of 17, and headed to Britain.
Arriving in Collyhurst, Manchester, she joined the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a convent originally started in her home county by Nano Nagle in 1775.
Having spent four years preparing for her vows, which she took in 1965, Sister Rita has now served the religious order for more than 50 years.
Over those years she has dedicated herself to helping people who are most vulnerable or in need.
From 2007 to 2017 Sister Rita led The Lalley Centre, a drop-in centre and food bank in Collyhurst which offers support for people with a range of complex needs — including debt, welfare advice, unemployment and food poverty.
Working with her centre clients and also partners in the wider community Sister Rita strove to make life better for everyone she came across.
Her tireless work at the centre saw the straight-talking nun given her own BBC show, Sister Rita to the Rescue, which ran for two series in 2015 and 2016.
In 2017 Sister Rita moved on from Collyhurst, much to the disappointment of the community she had served so tirelessly for a decade – who gathered more than 600 names for a petition calling for her to stay at the Lalley Centre.
Sister Rita was called to do other vocational work by her congregation but remains committed to helping those who need it most.
Tune into The Irish Post Awards 2019 this Thursday, November 14 at 9.30pm LIVE on TG4!