Friday, 7 December 2007

Parish Walk among the winners

Well, this news is fairly hot off the presses. In fact, Isle of Man Newspapers who organised and sponsored the Awards for Excellence at the Gaiety Theatre last night will not be rolling their presses until Monday morning.

The first prize to be awarded was the Sefton Group Award for Innovation and Independent thinking and was presented by Sir Miles Walker. There is a story behind the man who made the presentation even in that the company he and cousin Bruce (husband of one of our greatest ever Manx athletes Brenda) sold to Isle of Man Creameries recently, Walker Brothers, were one of the longest running (pun intended) sponsors of Manx athletics. They sponsored several road and off road events organised by just about all of the clubs on the Isle of Man. And during several of those years, Sir Miles just happened to be the Isle of Man's Chief Minister.

Anyway, the man he presented the award to was Tom Meageen of Manx Telecom. To quote from the programme: "'s (Manx Telecom's) technological input enabled parish walkers to obtain real-time results, reduce traffic congestion and increase race safety in the event. A solution provided at no cost to the Parish Walk".

Well done to Manx Telecom on winning this award and it says so much for the status of the Parish Walk that just about everyone in the room knew what the Parish Walk was without explanation. All of us who enjoyed and were amazed at how smoothly the technology was introduced will surely agree with the praise.

I've always been a bit sceptical about such events as these as it would appear that some of the companies make awards and then the same company wins another company's awards. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

So I have Stuart Watson of co-sponsors Royal Bank of Scotland International to thank for taking my wife Marie and I last night among the bank's many guests. Whilst you could also leave the event with the opinion that I went there with, there is no doubt that many people deserve to be recognised for what they do for our economy and our community.

None more so than Geoff Karran whose award of Lifetime Achiever concluded the evening. I can't do him justice here but his 40 year career with advocates Dickinson Cruickshank was highlighted alongside his work for charity, many individual sports and the Sports Council. And all this of this while staying at the heart of a strong family. His wife is an aunt of our great middle distance athletes Keith Gerrard who this weekend represents Great Britain in the European Cross Country Championships.

Well done to everyone for putting on the awards night. As Geoff competed in the Parish Walk this year (see picture at the top of this post) I managed to leave with my own thoughts turning back yet again to the Parish Walk.

Among the nominations last night was Olga Gray, principally for her work through Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Her husband Michael made history this year as the person with the biggest gap between Parish Walk finishes. He completed the course in 1961 and then did the entire 85 miles for a second time in 2007!

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