At the annual Cork Person of the Year Awards on Friday last, 17th January, attended by the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, and the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr Fintan Gavin, Stephen Teap, a son of the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, was named as Cork Person of the Year, and presented with his award by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Dr John Sheehan, the Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan. The Cork Person of the Year Awards have been organised for the past 27 years by Manus O’Callaghan. Present also were Stephen’s father Bill, his mother Anne, and brother Clive.
Stephen Teap lost his wife Irene to cervical cancer in 2017 after two cervical smear tests were misread. Since then he has become one of the leading advocates and campaigners on behalf of the other women and their families impacted by Cervical Check failures. Stephen received a standing ovation from the 250 people present, including the eleven other very worthy nominees for the award, as well as Dr John Bowman (Honorary Corkman) Mary Kennedy (a special award marking her retirement from RTE), and Dr Tom Cavanagh (Hall of Fame Award).
Bishop Colton, who officiated at the marriage of Stephen to Irene in September 2011, said that he had a lump in his throat as Stephen was presented with the award:
Naturally my mind went back to Stephen and Irene’s wedding day and to the hopes and joy of that day, of Irene’s journey, and how by these tragic circumstances Stephen has been thrown into this unwanted place, as have his young sons Oscar and Noah. On behalf of us all I just want to say how inspired we all are in this community and as Stephen’s friends, by Stephen, by his advocacy, by his response to great personal tragedy, and also by his steady and clear articulation in all his speeches and interviews of how he feels and how the others affected feel in a way that is deeply moving and motivating towards change for good in our society. Typically, again today, he dedicated his award to Irene, and to all the other women affected and their families.