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Volunteer visitor helpline receives PokerStars Spirit of the TT Award

Saturday, June 10, 2017
Rob Callister MHK and Eric Hollreiser from PokerStars

The three organisers of the TT facebook helpline page, which was set up to help visitors to the Isle of Man with travel and accommodation emergency issues, have jointly won the 2017 PokerStars Spirit of the TT Award.

Barbara Keene, Margaret Cain and Sandra Diamond set up the page in 2014 in response to the urgent needs of visitors bad weather.  The facebook page has built a community of over 5000 followers who work on the sites administration to make suggestions and provide solutions when visitors to the island are affected by weather.  The three intrepid volunteers have also put their own personal mobile numbers on the site so that they can further assist visitors.

The facebook page highlights the support that they provide which includes: “when weather turns nasty and campers need our help.  We will be looking for kind people to offer these visitors a bed, shower, warmth, washer, dryer, any way that you can help will be appreciated, all free of charge.  Your lost and found or stolen items, Information on what’s happening where and when, emergency numbers, and boat and air tickets swaps.”

The PokerStars Spirit of the TT Award is given annually to the person or persons who best represent the ethos and values of the TT Races including decency, honesty, generosity, courage, compassion, integrity, respect, teamwork and commitment to the development of the races.

The presentation of the award was made today – Senior Race Day - on the Grandstand podium ahead of this year’s PokerStars Senior TT Race. Rob Callister, the Isle of Man Government’s Tourism and Motorsport representative, collected the award on behalf of the three ladies who were unable to attend.

PokerStars is producing trophies for all three of the women who run the page so that they can have a permanent souvenir of the award.

Eric Hollreiser, Director of Corporate Communications, PokerStars commented:

“This is undoubtedly a well deserved award given the challenges that the Isle of Man has faced with weather and these three people have taken it on themselves in a voluntary capacity to offer their help.  They have used a simple common sense digital solution to a problem to provide a service to improve the experience of many of the visitors to the Island and their success and the impact of the site demonstrates the positive power of social media to improve lives and help people in need.”

Rob Callister, MHK, Isle of Man Government’s Tourism and Motorsport representative said:

"These three ladies typify the spirit that the Isle of Man’s people have shown in helping to look after our visitors. We want everyone to leave the Isle of Man with a positive experience and the contribution that the facebook helpline team have made has been invaluable and everyone associated with the event is very grateful to them.”

Representatives from the Isle of Man Government's Motorsport team including Rob Callister MHK, TT rider liaison officers Richard Quayle and John Barton, ACU Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson and PokerStars Director of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser judged the award. Nominations were invited from members of the public and from officials associated with the TT.

Previous winners have included Paul Owen, Conor Cummins, the Birchall Brothers, TT Marshal Eric Alexander and TTRA secretary Frances Thorp. Ninety-one year old Harold Leece who opens up his garden to visitors and 8 year old fundraiser Cici Reed received the award in 2015 while last year’s winner was TT rider Paul Shoesmith.

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