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Local heroes honoured

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019 4:34pm

By Kate Delaney

The Blarney Person of the Year Awards for 2019 are well underway in their tenth year and still going strong as this year's scheme hits the halfway mark.

Sponsored by Muskerry News and Blarney & District Chamber of Commerce, five monthly winners have so far been nominated for the overall award.

This year’s nominees include Betty Fitzgerald, Ruth Hockey, Craig Sykes, Jill O’Keeffe and Greg Constant.

Betty is the musical director and founder of Cór Geal, a choir founded in Whitechurch in 2009, while Ruth is a team leader for Blarney Toddler Group which is celebrating 20 years.

Soldier Craig ran the Cork City Marathon in uniform while carrying 14kg of kit to raise funds for his cousin’s baby daughter Heidi Patterson and Jill is a popular local school traffic warden.

Blarney United FC's manager Greg, along with his management team of Seamus Ring and Karl Murphy, guided their under 17 team to the club’s very first national cup victory.

The award's aim is to recognise achievement, leadership and altruism so that others may be inspired to follow and the panel of local judges have a hard job choosing from the monthly winners. The award ceremony, held every January at Blarney Castle Hotel, is the highlight of the Blarney social calendar, held in front of over 150 people representing all sectors of Blarney society.

Now halfway through the year, we will have to wait a while longer to find out who will be following in the footsteps of Sean Underwood, the Blarney Person of the Year 2018. The 25 year old was acknowledged for his feat of rowing across the Atlantic with three friends in aid of CUH Children’s Unit.

The Relentless Rowers set out from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 14 December 2017 and arrived in Antigua a little more than a month and 5,000 kilometres later, raising more than €30,000 for the charity.

The award was founded by local solicitor John Henchion, city councillor Damian Boylan and local businessperson Kate Durrant, who said: “In a world that seems to thrive on negativity and finding flaw, it’s lovely to look at the positive, and focus on people who, through their actions, remind us of all that is good and right with the world.”

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