NAMA Youth Awards

Photo: John Maddrell – Isle of Man Newspapers

Young achievers from schools were honoured by the North American Manx Association at a ceremony in Douglas today.

Each year, NAMA presents awards to under 25-year-olds who have excelled in their field. For each category a silver medallion has been minted. 

Eddie Teare MHK, Minister for Education and Children, welcomed guests to the ceremony at the Barrool Suite. He commented: ‘Once again the NAMA awards have attracted a wide variety of nominations, which illustrates how our young people are actively involved in their heritage and in ensuring that our culture is preserved. Their commitment to their community puts most of us to shame and I feel confident that with their hard work interest in our heritage will continue.’

Jim Corlett, President of the North American Manx Association, presented medallions to:

Music: Tamsin Armour, 18 Ramsey Grammar School (nominated by Gerry Quinn, Team Leader – Arts, Ramsey Grammar School, and Peddyr Cubberley of Cregneash)

An accomplished whistle player, Tamsin obtained A* in her GCSE Music performance playing Manx traditional music and ran a school folk group, teaching and arranging Manx music. She was instrumental in the development of Manx music groups Bee er dty Hwoaie (Watch Out!) and Scoill Ree Gorree-based Share na Veg (Better Than Nothing), has performed at Yn Chruinnaght (The Gathering), Feish Chiaull (Musical Recital) and Shennaghys Jiu (Tradition Today) and has represented the Island as a member of traditional dance group Ny Fennee (The Heroes) at Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany. Her nomination says: ‘Her involvement in these activities means that our culture is in safe hands for the foreseeable future.’

Arts and crafts: Helen Gawne, 17, Ballakermeen High School (nominated by Viv Christian, Art Teacher, Ballakermeen High School)

Helen’s artwork is inspired by a love of animals, her favourites being cats and swans. She paints in acrylics, watercolours and oil paints and using oil or chalk pastels. Her work has been featured on greeting cards sold in aid of charity. The nomination notes ‘her enthusiasm for the subject, her outstanding creativity and her conscientious, competitive and enthusiastic approach to all aspects of art and craft’.

Manx language: Jessica Isherwood, 15, Ballakermeen High School (nominated by Rosemary Derbyshire, DEC Manx Language Officer)

Jessica began learning Manx while at Ballacottier Primary School. When she moved to Ballakermeen, Manx was available only as an extra subject so Jessica attended lessons first thing in the morning. At the end of Year 9 when she chose her GCSE subjects, Jessica was keen to carry on with Manx so studied it as an additional subject after school. She is predicted to achieve a high grade. ‘Throughout this time she has shown a real commitment to the language and has always worked with great enthusiasm,’ her nomination says.

Manx culture (under 18): Hollie Jaques, 16, Ramsey Grammar School (nominated by David Trace, Headteacher)

Hollie was involved in Manx music and dance from an early age, progressing from school group Share na Veg to Bee er dty Hwoaie and Ny Fennee. She was a runner-up in Young Dancer of Mann in 2009 and 2011. At Cruinnaght Aeg she has won the Manx soloist award at all age levels. As a member of Share na Veg, she represented the Island, playing whistle and keyboard, at the Celtic Congress in Oban in 2005. She performed at Feile Iorrais, Ireland, in 2008 and Festival Interceltique de Lorient in 2009. She has been an active member of Shennaghys Jiu for five years. She teaches Manx dance to pupils at Scoill Ree Gorree and Ramsey Grammar School and to Ny Fennee. ‘It is this sort of commitment that is an inspiration to others and will ensure the continuation of our ancient traditions and culture,’ her nomination states.

Manx culture (over 18): Hannah Stoutt, 18, Ramsey Grammar School (nominated by Sue-ling Jaques of Ramsey)

A member of Ny Fennee for five years, Hannah has represented the Island at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient. She has competed successfully at Yn Chruinnaght and was part of a dance team that was runner-up in the Young Dancer of Mann contest. She gives up her time to teach Manx dancing at Scoill Ree Gorree after school and assist with cultural studies at her own school. Her nomination praises her dedication to her community.

Manx culture (group – under 25): Share na Veg (nominated by Sue-ling Jaques of Ramsey) and Ny Fennee (nominated by Peddyr Cubberley of Cregneash)

Share na Veg (seven to 11-year-olds) has a music group, led by ex-Albert Road Junior teacher Mike Boulton, that plays instruments such as the whistle, harp, guitar, bouzouki, cello, Northumbrian pipes and fiddle, and a dance group, led by teacher Juan Garrett, that performs solo and group dances and is noted for its stick dance. It has performed at two Celtic Congresses and pops up regularly at community events. The nomination recognises the group’s ‘huge cultural impact’ on the school.

Ny Fennee (eight to 18-year-olds) draws it 40+ members from northern schools and reworks traditional Manx dances along new lines. It performs locally and at Celtic events abroad and won the national dance category, finishing as runner-up overall, at the last two Young Dancer of Mann contests. The group is a ‘catalyst for the revival and continuation of the tradition’ of Manx dance, says its nomination.

Manx community: Moira Pain, 16, Queen Elizabeth II High School (nominated by Sue Moore, Headteacher)

GCSE student Moira finds time to be a leading light of Queen Elizabeth II’s School Council, Eco-committee and Fairtrade group. She is a school prefect. She was part of a winning team that visited Gambia to work with Concern Universal. She helps run Patrick Youth Club. A busy member of Living Hope Church, she represented the Island at the Thomas Cranmer Bible Reading Awards in London and is following a leadership course with Scripture Union Ministries Trust. An accomplished performer, Moira enters the Manx Music Festival while coaching younger children for the event. At Christmas, Moira visits residents of a nursing home and helps distribute parcels to the school’s elderly neighbours. Christian Aid and the Motor Neurone Disease Association are two of the charities she helps. Her ‘outstanding contribution’ to her school and community led to her nomination.

Phil Gawne, MHK, Minister for Infrastructure and a fluent Manx speaker, then presented the awards for the most progress in Manx to Rachael Harrop and Alice Lawrence, both 16 and of Queen Elizabeth II High School.

President of Tynwald Hon Noel Cringle MLC gave the vote of thanks for the final time, as he is stepping down from the post. He said he had been ‘very proud and very privileged’ to play a part in the NAMA Awards ceremony over a number of years.

He told recipients: ‘It is quite a wonderful thing that we have in front of us today young people who are prepared to keep flying the flag of Manx culture, whether it be through music, dance, song or helping in the community. All these things go to make the Manx nation what it is.’