The island’s successes should be recognized |


I am a half full glass person. Too often it seems that we focus on the negative at the expense of the good.

Besides living in a special place, I think we don’t celebrate the accomplishments of so many residents often enough.

I’ve mentioned some of our sports heroes in my column and I intend to come back to this topic at some point in the future, but thought I’d check out a few other Manx-born people who have made the world a difference in various fields.

The reason I thought this topic timely was because the Isle of Man Newspapers’ annual Awards for Excellence were held at Villa Marina on Thursday evening.

In its 15th year since the event began, this special event has recognized more than 600 local businesses, as well as charities, individuals and public sector services.

A number of people who have made significant contributions to island life have been publicly recognized over the years. I’ll come back to this celebration a little later, but first let’s look at a few people who have made a difference around the world over the years.

In the field of science, Edward Forbes, a naturalist, was the Royal Society’s first Manx Fellow.

Martin Bridson, educated at St. Ninian, is a Whitehead Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Oxford.

Forgive me for reciting my uncle, Sir Godfrey Cretney, who has been recognized by the Harold Wilson administration for his contributions to comprehensive education, particularly as the first principal of Castle Rushen High School.

One of the most successful actors on our island is of course Samantha Barks, whose film debut as Eponine in Les Miserables earned her the Empire Award for best female newcomer and the Elle Style Award for best groundbreaking performance.

The hugely successful 2021 TV drama “It’s a Sin” pays homage to Dursley McLinden, who died at the age of 30. He was known in a number of musicals in the West End.

One of the artists in all forms is George Rayner Hoff, who is best known in Australia for his war memorial work and especially the sculptures on the ANZAC war memorial in Sydney.

Chris Killip, Manx photographer who was Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University in the USA from 1991 to 2017.

Like so many, I am a very enthusiastic fan of Archibald Knox’s work. However, unlike Brad Pitt, I am not fortunate enough to own any of his works, even though I have a friend who is passionate about his watercolors.

Knox was the lead designer at Liberty’s at the height of its success.

We owe much to the late Liam O’Neil, whose enthusiasm and energy have served to promote Knox and its connections with the Isle of Man around the world. A multi-talent, working in a variety of media and across currents, including Arts and Crafts, Celtic Revival, Art Nouveau, and Modernism, Knox worked with the wonderful architect Baillie Scott.

Brian Kneale Sculptor attended the Douglas School of Art like Knox. From 1982 to 1990 he taught at the Royal College of Art and was master and professor of sculpture at the Royal Academy.

His older brother Nigel was a very successful screenwriter, best known for the Quatermass works.

We have talented musicians who were born on our island and who have achieved a lot in their field.

The Gibb brothers were born in Jane, Barry in 1946 and Robin and Maurice in 1949.

Unfortunately, Bernie Quayle recently passed away and he was a great ambassador and friend of the Bee Gees. Christine Collister is always welcomed at home as a very talented contemporary folk singer, and Davy Knowles has earned acclaim as a blues guitarist and singer in the United States and Port St Mary, among others.

In the literary field, the works of our national poet TE Brown always cause hair on the back of the neck when spoken in real Manx dialect.

Randolph Quirk of Lambfell was Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London and, although a lifelong Labor supporter, was a peer in the House of Lords.

Professor Sir Frank Kermode was a distinguished literary critic and Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge.

I know there will be some that I haven’t mentioned in this article and would welcome any nominees you have when I get back on this topic. Please email [email protected], text 333974, or send suggestions to 12 Manor Drive, Farmhill IM2 2PA.

I think it would be interesting to also take a look at those who have joined us over the years and contributed to island life.

At the annual memorial services across the island last week, we must never forget the guilt of so many Manx men and women who have played their part in two world wars and the various military conflicts since then.

Major Robert Henry Cain was awarded the Victoria Cross for his role in Operation Market Garden during World War II.

Hector Duff received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the IoM Newspapers Awards for Excellence in 2014. His commitment was also recognized by Tynwald, by the French authorities with the presentation of the Legion d’Honneur and the Soldiering On Awards.

It was a very emotional event for us at Villa Marina when he was recognized for his life’s work and he clearly remembered some situations that he had faced with great courage.

At the 2021 Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to another soldier with lifelong experience who still serves the former service community, Major Charles Wilson.

Despite the past 20 months or so, the world has seen unprecedented unrest and restrictions in everyday life in peacetime.

The island has not been immune and faces major challenges, but we are in a better place compared to many others.

In particular, the Awards recognized a number of Isle of Man companies for their efforts in these difficult times.

In the “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises” category, Manx Business Solutions, Shred House and Ross Bakery were nominated, with MBS accepting the award.

Founded in 2007 with two employees, it now employs 19 people in 40 countries and, despite Covid, recorded a growth of 10% in 2020.

In the ‘Excellent Customer Service’ category, Rex Motor Company has grown and diversified in just a few years with really good customer feedback.

Greg Ellison received the “Leader of the Year” award for building the first new island bank in many years with 100 high-quality jobs and 150,000 customers.

In the “Celebrating our local food Manufacturers” category, Aimee Ford emerged as the winner with her internationally award-winning cake shop Butterfingers.

It was shown how it had switched during the lockdown to meet the special conditions like a number of such companies.

In the “Innovation and Independent Thinking” category, Kermelly Seafoods demonstrated how they have turned adversity into opportunities.

There were, of course, many other winners, including the government’s Covid Community Support Team and others in the third sector, whom we should be very grateful for for their commitment during such difficult times.


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