Media partnership with Extraordinary Islanders
We all know that Manxies are capable of achieving extraordinary things. Here at Gef, in collaboration with Extraordinary Islanders, we’ve decided to highlight some incredible Manxies, including some household names and unsung heroes, who are doing fantastic things.
Conor Cummins is a local TT legend, having been up on the TT podium 10 (!) times. Conor is also a local businessman, owning the two branches of Conrod’s in Ramsey. Over lockdown, Conor put his local celebrity status to good use, raising funds for the Manx Solidarity Fund through the Not the TT 2020 and auctioning off a couple of laps
with him along the TT course on a trike.
Local lass Bethany Williams launched her fashion label in 2017, producing sustainable clothing out of waste and recycled materials. Her brand focuses on having a positive social impact, and she has worked in collaboration with Vauxhall Food Bank, the Mobile Library charity and Adelaide House Women’s Centre. Her brand has also provided opportunities to female inmates, recovering addicts and people at the Manx workshop for the disabled. A percentage of her profits go back into the communities.
During the pandemic, Bethany has teamed up with other designers to create the Emergency Designer Network, where they used their fashion knowledge to produce breathable PPE and reusable gowns.
It’s not just us who think Bethany is an extraordinary islander- Bethany has received some prestigious awards, such as the Queen Elizabeth Award for design (awarded to her by the Duchess of Cornwall), the British Emerging Talents- Menswear award and a £10,000 prize at the ICA Arts foundation award.
Hector Duff OBE
At 101 years of age, Hector Duff OBE is a true legend. Between 1940-1945, Hector served in the 7th Armoured Division also known as the desert rats. His service in World War Two saw him fight across Europe and North Africa, and his division were present in Normany on D-Day. Hector has publically spoken about his experiences of the D-day landings in schools. For his commitment and role in our community, he was awarded a British Empire Medal, and this year he was awarded an OBE.
Unsung community heroes
When all of her other colleagues at the Southern Befrienders, a charity that supports older people who feel lonely or isolated, had to shield, Debbie assured that the charity would keep going over lockdown. Debbie made regular calls to the elderly in her community, ensured calls for help were answered and made socially distanced doorstep visits when permitted to ensure the elderly were okay, and that they saw a smiling face. If navigating a pandemic wasn’t enough, Debbie also faced the challenge of providing support with a broken foot. Not to be deterred, Debbie continued food delivered on her crutches, roping her husband Peter in to drive and carry parcels- all while remaining cheerful and optimistic.
14 year old musician Roo usually spends TT busking in Peel, raising funds for charity. When TT was cancelled this year, Roo moved to Youtube, busking for over 26 weeks to raise money for the Teapot Trust, a charity that provides children with art therapy. Her performance on week 26 was at the Lieutenant Governor’s house.
Neal Mellon worked non-stop spearheading the work done by volunteers at Isle of Man Foodbank all through COVID-19. As CEO, he carried on working day after day despite being retired and having had heart surgery 4 years ago. From strategic planning to collecting and delivering food parcels, Neal assured that the island was supported throughout the pandemic.
Mari-louise is a ballet teacher who assured that her students remained fit and healthy during lockdown by setting up a zoom class, delivered from her own living room. The classes kept the students on track with their dancing, giving them a sense of normality, routine and an opportunity to socialise. Her students describe her as a “selfless superstar!!”
Caitlin Allinson and Chess Warren at Manx Uni-Verse
Choosing which university to go to is an important decision, which has only been made harder for the island’s young people who have been unable to visit campuses. University of York students Caitlin and Chess saw a problem and came up with a solution: Manx Uni-verse.
Manx Uni-verse is a Facebook group connecting prospective students with current students, who can provide advice on all aspects of uni life. The duo have posted regular
interviews from students on a variety of courses, as well as providing tips and tricks on managing life at uni.
In July, the pair also organised the University and Higher Education fair. While staff reps would usually come over for the event, this year more than 50 universities were represented by Manx students.
The Team at Crossroads
Crossroads have been providing incredible support for carers and people with care needs for over 30 years, but during the pandemic they really stepped things up in a time when carers and people with care needs needed them most. Through the pandemic, Crossroads took over Government’s Home Care services to free up their staff to work on the front lines, and staff and Crossroads moved roles to assure that they could continue providing essential respite.
If you know a Manxie deserving some recognition, you can nominate them for an Extraordinary Islander award here. You have until the 30th November to nominate!