The Tall Ships Races 2011 - Waterford has been honoured at the prestigious People of the Year Awards in Ireland for the enormous voluntary and community effort that led to a hugely successful festival.
The event, with the support of organisations in the public and private sectors, saw a fleet of 50 ships sail into Waterford Quays, and a festival of culture, craft and cuisine was put on to celebrate. A number of cultural venues held a range of educational events and exhibitions, while top names in local, national and international music played across the city.
Ireland’s answer to an honours system, the
Awards provide a unique opportunity for the Irish public to honour
outstanding achievements and contributions made by individuals and
organisations in Ireland. The award was accepted by Des Whelan,
Chairman, The Tall Ships Races 2011 - Waterford and Cllr Pat Hayes,
Mayor of Waterford,
An estimated 500,000 people visited over the course of the festival and it is estimated that the event generated some €30 million in economic activity for the region. This was the second time that Waterford was successful in its bid to host the prestigious maritime event, having previously welcomed the Tall Ships in 2005.
However, this could not have happened without the more than 500 volunteers who stepped forward to offer support, taking great pride in their home county and its nautical heritage. People volunteered in all areas of the event, from liaising with ships, crews, working at street performances, assisting with transport and traffic, and even continually picking up litter to keep the streets of Waterford clean.
The winners are chosen by members of the public through a nominations process and finalised by a panel of adjudicators, comprising of leading members of the media, voluntary sector and business community.
The Awards, organised by Rehab, a leading non-governmental organisation
in Ireland, were sponsored by QUINN-healthcare and broadcast live on RTÉ
One television. TV personality Gráinne Seoige (pictured above with Des Whealan and Cllr Pat Hayes) presented the Awards
with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, the Guest of Honour in attendance.
Congratulations to Des Whealan and his team on behalf of Sail Training
International, organiser of The Tall Ships Races 2011, presented by
Szczecin, for ensuring the race series began on a high.