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Chess Sponsor Receives Award 6 October 2003

Tourism Minister David Cretney presented the Tourism Merit Award to Patrick Taylor last night (Sunday) at the Ocean Castle Hotel, Port Erin.

The prestigious trophy is awarded by the Department of Tourism and Leisure in recognition of outstanding support for the tourist industry.

Mr Taylor, who is chairman and managing director of Monarch Assurance PLC, has supported the Monarch Assurance International Chess Tournament since the inaugural competition in 1991. Today, thanks to his unswerving sponsorship, plus support from Port Erin Commissioners and the Department, the event now rates as the strongest and richest in the British Isles. The Merit Award was presented following the prize-giving to the chess tournament winners.

Tourism Minister David Cretney said: 'Mr Taylor has supported the chess tournament to the tune of many thousands of pounds over the past 12 years and has been described as the event's father figure. This year the event attracted 160 competitors from 31 countries and filled every hotel and B&B in Port Erin. Thanks to Mr Taylor's support, the future of the event is secure and the Isle of Man is firmly on the international chess map.'

Mr Taylor is also a benefactor of other leisure and sporting events on the Isle of Man.

He said he was honoured to receive the award: 'It was totally unexpected and I feel tremendously honoured that we have been thought about. I think that anybody who comes to the Isle of Man and who gets something from the economy, the least they can do is put something back. What we have put back is reflected in part in what we do for the chess tournament.'

Previous recipients of the Tourism Merit Award have included Manx Radio for its Games Station in 2001, Dave Wood, Friends of Isle of Man Motorcycle Racing 1997-98 and Laxey Heritage Trust in 1996-97.

Mr Cretney went on: 'Mr Taylor provided an initial £1,000 to sponsor the inaugural competition and, as the event has grown, his company's sponsorship has increased correspondingly. However, in presenting the award I must also pay tribute to the Cherry Orchard Aparthotel's marketing manager Tony Bridson whose assistance to the organisers was invaluable. His death during this year's competition was described by the tournament director Dennis Hemsley as 'the loss of the organiser's right arm'. Tony's assistance, enthusiastic support and tremendous hard work aided the tournament's development.'

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