BOB SEWARD, founder of the Cork Academy of Music, was last week named the Cork Person of the Year for his ground-breaking work in music education on the northside of Cork City.
The awards ceremony was held at the Rochestown Park Hotel last Friday.
The hosts were RTÉ Prime Time’s Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullagh.
Mr Seward set up the voluntary, not-for-profit music school in 1994 on Cork’s northside to provide an education in music literacy and instrument skills for people living in a traditionally high unemployment area of the city.
Mr Seward explained: ‘Our original aim was to use music as a tool for social inclusion, so we located the academy in an area of the city with relatively low educational achievement and high unemployment levels.’
Working in a voluntary capacity at the Cork Academy of Music, Mr Seward is a retired army captain, recipient of two United Nations peace medals – in recognition of his service in the Congo in 1960 and in Cyprus in 1963.
Awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan said that Bob had also steered young people from his music tuition back to mainline education courses in other areas to help them secure employment.
Also shortlisted for the award were monthly award winners Skibbereen Rowing coach Donimic Casey (September) and Enniskeane-based Cork City FC manager John Caulfield (November).
West Cork woman Dee Forbes, director general of RTÉ, spoke at the awards dinner and confirmed the State broadcaster’s commitment to its Cork studios, in addition to its support for several festivals in the area.