The man who saved the life of a baby during the Buncrana pier tragedy earlier this year was recognised for his heroics at the third annual Derry Journal People of the Year Awards in the Everglades Hotel on Thursday night.
Sean McGrotty, 46, sons Mark, 12, and Evan, eight, Mr. McGrotty’s mother-in-law Ruth Daniels, 57, and her 15-year-old daughter Jodie Lee all died when the car they were in slid off the slipway at Buncrana pier and into the Lough Swilly.
Kerrykeel man, Davitt Walsh, risked his life and swam out to the sinking car.
Mr. McGrotty passed his 14 month-old daughter Rioghnach-Ann through the car window to Mr. Walsh who somehow managed to rescue the baby girl and bring her safely to shore.
Unfortunately, Mr. Walsh and his partner Stephanie Cox were unable to attend the ceremony however Mr. Walsh’s mother Siobhan Walsh and Stephanie’s mum Marina Knox, collected the award for Outstanding Bravery on their behalf.
The Business Person of the Year award went to the CEO of the North West Health Group, Elizabeth Dallas MBE while Dr. Mukesh Chugh picked up the accolade for Contribution to Arts and Culture.
Mona McConnell (posthumously) won the award for Community Development Person of the Year and Billy McGowan was presented with award for Volunteer of the Year.
Former St. Mary’s College Head Girl, Kennedy Keeney Robinson won the Inspirational Young Talent award and Carer of the Year went to Geraldine Doherty, Jacinta Roddy, Hazel Halus and Lorna Rankin (all from Kinship Care).
The name Michael Glackin is synonymous with amateur boxing in Derry and it was easy to see why, when the St. Mary’s ABC coach won the Sports Volunteer of the Year award.
The Sports Person of the Year award went to amateur boxer and Commonwealth Youth Games medallist, Brett McGinty, from St. Johnston, Co. Donegal.
St. Mary’s College teacher, Clare Doherty, won Inspirational Educator of the Year Award and Mary Blake (Derry City and Strabane District Council) was unveiled as the Martin McCrossan Tourism and Hospitality Champion of the Year.
Sammy Nicholl from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service went home with the Emergency Services Hero of the Year award and there was a Lifetime Achievement award for well known G.P. Dr. Keith Munro.
A McLean Bookmakers were associate sponsors on the night and award categories were sponsored by Calor Direct; Apex Housing Association; Firmus Energy; City of Derry Airport; A McLean Bookmakers; Tourism Ireland; Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre; Airporter and Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Full List of Winners:
Business Person of the Year: Elizabeth Dallas MBE (NWIH) - sponsored by Calor Direct.
Contribution to Arts & Culture: Dr Mukesh Chugh.
Community Development Person of the Year: Mona McConnell (posthumously) - sponsored by Apex Housing Association.
Volunteer of the Year: Billy McGowan - sponsored by Firmus Energy.
Inspirational Young Talent: Kennedy Keeney Robinson – St Mary’s College - sponsored by City of Derry Airport.
Carer of the Year: (Kinship Care) - Geraldine Doherty; Jacinta Roddy; Hazel Halus and Lorna Rankin.
Sports Volunteer of the Year: Michael Glackin - sponsored by A. McLean Bookmakers.
Sports Person of the Year: Brett McGinty - sponsored by A. McLean Bookmakers.
Inspirational Educator of the Year: Clare Doherty - St Mary’s College.
Martin McCrossan Tourism & Hospitality Champion of the Year: Mary Blake - Derry City & Strabane District Council - sponsored by Tourism Ireland.
Emergency Services Hero of the Year: Sammy Nicholl - Northern Ireland Ambulance Service - sponsored by Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre.
Outstanding Bravery: Davitt Walsh and Stephanie Knox - sponsored by Airporter.
Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Keith Munro - sponsored by Derry City & Strabane District Council.
Full event coverage in pictures in Tuesday’s ‘Journal’.