Journal’s new People of the Year Awards launched

The Derry Journal has launched it’s first awards scheme to find the unsung heroes and honour the good work going on across the city.

The Derry People of the Year Awards 2014 have been launched at the Guildhall.

Mayor of Derry Martin Reilly pictured at launch of the Derry Journal's Derry People of the Year Awards.

Mayor of Derry Martin Reilly pictured at launch of the Derry Journal's Derry People of the Year Awards.

Representatives from the Journal were joined at the event by senior staff from main sponsor Progressive Building Society, associate sponsor Oaklee Trinity, and the Mayor of Derry Martin Reilly among other invited guests.

There are 16 categories in the awards, and the winners will be honoured at a special formal dinner evening at the Everglades Hotel in Derry on Thursday, August 28th.

Fundraising collections for local charity Foyle Search & Rescue will be held on the night.

The Derry People Of the Year Awards will recognise the contribution, commitment, and achievements of a wide range of people in the Derry area.

The judging process will be carried out by an independent panel, with some awards being decided by a readers’ vote.

Anyone can make a nomination regardless of whether it is for themselves, a family member, friend, colleague or member of the public.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, the Derry Journal’s Multi-Media Content Manager Eamon Sweeney said the Journal was organising the awards in recognition of the levels of good work that go on across Derry.

He said: “It is vitally important that the unsung work of a lot of people in the town becomes very publicly recognised, and there is no better way to do that than through the auspices of the Derry Journal in print and online.

“It is a sign of faith as well that as the launch of the awards happen that such a level of sponsorship has been readily available.”

William Allen, Group Editor with Johnston Press, paid tribute to local businessman Martin McCrossan whose vision led to the first People of the Year Awards taking place many years ago.

Mr Allen said it was fitting that such a great event was being reinstated.

He said: “The awards recognise not only people with a public profile but also the unsung heroes within the community.

“There are many people who, with no thought for themselves, spend so much time and effort helping others and it is their efforts we want to acknowledge with these awards.

“The community in Derry is a strong one and despite differences- political, social or economic- we are all intrinsically linked, and the Derry Journal, which has served the community since 1772 is in a unique position to ensure the selflessness of any cause is properly highlighted, recognised and placed on public record.”

Darina Armstrong, chief executive with Progressive, said: “We hope that the awards will be an opportunity for Progressive to further reinforce its long-term investment and commitment to the North West.”

Speaking after the formal launch, Mayor Reilly urged local people to get nominating.

He said: “The People of the Year Awards are a great way to recognise excellence but also recognise that many people volunteer and give up their time to make a big, positive difference to their communities.

“It is great to see such a range of categories available as well.”

Those wishing to nominate people can pick up a form inside Friday’s Journal. The closing date for return of nominations is June 23rd, 2014.

The 16 award categories are:

1)Special Recognition Lifetime Achievement Award

2) Outstanding Bravery Award

3) Emergency Services Hero Of The Year Award

4) Sportsperson of the Year

5) Sports Team of the Year

6) Coach of the Year

7) Business Man Of The Year

8) Business Woman of the Year

9) Contribution to Arts & Culture Award

10) Inspirational Young Talent Award

11) Volunteer of the Year

12) Community Development Person of the Year

13) Charity Worker of the year

14) Carer of the Year

15) Inspirational Educator for the Year

16) Young Carer of the Year