Tuesday 20 February 2018

The race is on to find our unsung heroes

Stars lead hunt for People of the Year

Michael McHale

IT may have been a star-studded event, but it was the unsung heroes who were on everyone's minds yesterday.

An acting legend and an Olympic hero were among the personalities who helped launch this year's search for People of the Year.

And while both had won the award in the past, they were keen to heap praise on those less well-known who have also been honoured for their achievements.

"It's an absolutely marvellous event," boxer Kenny Egan said yesterday.

"I was lucky enough to win it in 2008 ... it's great to be part of it again.

"When I went to the Olympic Games I was just there to perform. Obviously I went on to win the silver medal and it was great to go back and get recognised for what I had done."

Joining him was veteran actor David Kelly, best known for TV roles in 'Glenroe' and 'Strumpet City' and more recently film roles such as in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Waking Ned'

"By definition we are a remarkable people," he said. "You wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be here, if it wasn't for people who came through the Famine.

"That's an impossibility. We know the figures, millions died, but our people somehow came through that, that makes them remarkable.

"So the background, that makes us kind of unsinkable."

Honour

He added it was "a huge honour" to receive his award last year. "I won it because I got to be 80 years of age," he joked, before explaining what it really meant to him.

Writer Brian Keenan received his prize in 1990 after spending four-and-a-half years as a hostage of Muslim gunmen in the Lebanon.

The Belfast-born university teacher's first book, 'An Evil Cradling' described his time in captivity and became an international bestseller.

Award sponsors Rehab yesterday called on the public to nominate people who they feel deserve to be celebrated for their achievements.

"I suppose it's ordinary people doing extraordinary things," said chief executive of Rehab Angela Kerins.

"It's important then that the public identify their local people and every year we get people who have never been known other than for the ... awards."

Nominations can be submitted online at the website www.peopleoftheyear.com, by email to poy@quinn-health care.com, or by collecting a nomination form from Rehab headquarters in Sandymount, Dublin 4.

Irish Independent

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