A group of experienced volunteers who search for missing people has been named the overall winners of the first Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Award.
The monthly awards were launched at the start of 2021 to honour the unsung heroes who volunteer and make a significant contribution to their community.
Cork City Missing Persons, the February winner, was announced as the judges overall winner at the special event. The group conducts searches on land and water, often continuing to search weeks after all State agencies are stood down.
Despite working full-time, the volunteers make themselves available at short notice 365 days a year to the family and friends of missing people.
A gala dinner was held at the Cork International Hotel to celebrate the 12 monthly recipients and to name the overall winners.
The public vote went to Passage West man Francis McEveney, the August winner. For many years, he organised an enormous All-Ireland under-age Gaelic Football blitz for girls. Francis also goes to great lengths to decorate his house for Halloween every year to raise funds for Marymount Hospice.
Norman Deane from Cork Harlequins, who won the July award, was presented with a Lifetime Contribution Award. Norman has looked after the grounds at Cork Harlequins since the mid-1980s.
Now in his 80s, he still comes to the club every day, feeds the cat and cuts the acres of grass. The club said he has saved them thousands of euro over the years with all the work he has undertaken.
The awards night was attended by Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher; Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Cathal Rasmussen; Cllr Seamus McGrath; Cllr Marcia D’Alton; the monthly winners and their family and friends.
Eoghan Murphy, Deputy General Manager of the Cork International Hotel who organised the event, he said, “It is wonderful to be able to gather and celebrate so many remarkable individuals and groups who go all out to make a difference in their community. These volunteers are working quietly in every part of Cork and we’re delighted to be able to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the impact they’re having on all our lives.” General Manager of the Cork International Hotel, Carmel Lonergan was on the judging panel, she said: “All 12 finalists can be so proud of what they have achieved. I would again like to offer my congratulations to the three winners, Cork City Missing Persons, Frances McEveney and Norman Deane. They’ve all given their time to give comfort to the families of missing people, championed girls in sport and spent thousands of hours maintaining their local club grounds.”