Film-maker and his wife to receive honorary titles

For the first time in the 20-year history of the Cork Person of the Year Awards, a new accolade will be handed out.

David Puttnam and his wife Patsy will be presented with Honorary Corkman and Corkwoman titles at the ceremony, which takes place at the Rochestown Park Hotel on Jan 18.

Puttnam, who has lived in West Cork for 20 years, is being honoured for his many celebrated Oscar-winning films and for promoting the Cork region abroad.

Awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan hailed the couple for being community activists, helping many artistic and charitable causes.

“In more recent times they have been involved in breaking down the barriers to education worldwide, from their Skibbereen residence, using sophisticated video conferencing equipment,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

The judges will have their work cut out to choose the winner of this year’s main award.

Among the favourites are plucky Joanne O’Riordan, who battled being born with no limbs and who last year did herself and her country proud when she addressed the UN.

Other favourites include West Cork’s Steve Redmond, who created a world record by completing the Seven Oceans Endurance Channel Swims.

Fr Pierce Cormac and Bill Deasy are in the running for their selfless work on the 28-day search for five fishermen missing off Union Hall. Another person in contention will be Jason Sullivan (aka Andrew James), who created the Sminky Shorts internet sensation.

To mark this special year, President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina will attend the awards.

Representatives from the business, sporting, civic, and social sectors will also be present among the 250 invited guests.

“We are delighted to have achieved our 20th year of these awards, but the main business of the day will continue to be the picking of the Cork Person of the Year,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

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