After a year off due to COVID-19 complications, the annual Awards for Excellence returned last week for its 15th iteration.

Over the years, the event has become something of an institution on the island – with members from across its community coming together to celebrate the success of companies, charities and individuals in the public sector.

This year, Wilton has backed a new award category – Our Local Heroes – which recognizes exceptional work within the island’s community. This is particularly pertinent in the wake of the pandemic – which tested communities’ capacity to band together in trying circumstances.

Group CEO, Tony Flanagan, has described the island’s handling of the pandemic as a ‘beacon of light’. This runs from Minister through to volunteer.

Luke Adebiyi, one of the award’s nominees, has shown immense dedication to promoting diversity and wellbeing in the workplace. As Wellbeing Lead for Capital International, Luke has emerged as a role model to many on the island – and continues to push the envelope with regards to diversity on the Isle of Man.

Emilie King, our youngest nominee, was celebrated for having raised funds for Nobles Hospital with the sales of her family-recipe cookbook. The first copies of the book, amazingly, were both handwritten and handmade by Emilie.

Also nominated were the Search for Rescue Dogs Association Isle of Man for their volunteer-led work as part of the Isle of Man’s Emergency Services. The team is comprised of unpaid volunteers who, often in extreme weather conditions and through the night, conduct searches for missing people on the island.

But the outright winner on the night, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the St John’s Ambulance Service who, as the nation’s leading first aid charity, trains people in how to provide first aid in their communities. In the midst of a public health crisis, the service they provide has proved all-the-more important and, whilst faced with the obstacles of lockdown and social distancing, they have more than risen to this calling on the island.

Congratulations to all those nominated and to the other winners on the night. It was an honour for Wilton to have the opportunity to celebrate community on the Isle of Man.