What a line up! The list of those who have been given the honour of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence is impressive in itself, but the impact they have made, both on the island and much further afield, is even more so…
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the only award at the Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence that is not decided by the panel of judges. The winners have submitted no entry form and they have no idea, when they attend the Awards Night, that they are about to receive this honour.
Last year’s winner, Dot Tilbury, (pictured) had been busy organising some of the young members of her cycling league to take part in the finale and thought she was at the Awards Night to honour someone else, as she explains:
‘I do remember being stunned because I’d arranged to get all the cyclists there. All the time I was thinking it was in honour of Peter Kennaugh getting the gold medal and all the time it was for me!’
Dot was given the award for her dedication to the island’s youth cycling league, developing protégés like Peter in the very early stages of their careers. She was also honoured for her community work in the parish of Marown and her achievements as an entertainer. The award was presented to her on the night by Peter Kennaugh (who himself received a special award to mark his Olympic gold medal win) and Dot explains what it meant to her:
‘It was a great honour because of all the other people who have been Lifetime Achievers before me – all those great Manx people who’d been honoured. I’m passionate about the Isle of Man so it meant such a lot.
‘Everyone was so kind and generous in their remarks – it was humbling. It all went in a bit of a daze. Words can’t express what a great night it was and to have Peter Kennaugh there was very special.’
The first winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2006, was former Chief Minister Donald Gelling, followed by Geoff Karran in 2007.
In 2008, Robin Gibb collected the award on behalf of the Bee Gees, before performing a rendition of Ellan Vannin backed by a choir of schoolchildren.
In 2009, Lady Walker stepped onto the stage, thinking she was there to honour her husband, former Chief Minister Sir Miles Walker, only to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award herself. ‘I’ve never been more surprised in my life!’ she said afterwards.
Lady Walker received the award for her charity work and especially her role at the forefront of efforts to raise money to build the new hospice on the island.
In 2010 the honour was awarded posthumously to the former first deemster and proud Manxman Mike Kerruish.
His family was there to witness the emotional video tribute that even brought a tear to the eye of the evening’s presenter, comedian Rory Bremner.
Charity campaigner Olga Gray, the winner in 2011, and Dot complete the line-up which is a testimony to the extraordinary people the Isle of Man has produced.
Whoever wins this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be announced at the awards night on November 21 at the Villa, one thing is certain: they will be proud and honoured to take their place alongside those amazing Manx men and women who have received it already.