14 November 2017

Sports TV presenter,  Rob Walker,  has picked Cynthia Dibbo as the winning artist for this year’s Portraits of Distinction competition.

As Master of Ceremonies at the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield and a regular presence on our TV screens , Rob Walker,  is used to seeing his face on television but he still found it unnerving walking into a room with portraits of himself hanging on the walls.

Rob came to Sheffield Town Hall to judge the annual Portraits of Distinction competition.  He said of the experience:  “Being the subject of a portrait competition was a little surreal for someone as low profile as me,  although I was of course flattered to be asked by Sheffield City Council.”

“It was an honour to meet such a talented group of artists and it underlines just what a creative city this is.  The variety and overall standard of all the artists blew me away.  There were so many I liked and from so many genres that choosing the top three was ridiculously hard.”

Rob had a close look at the 29 portraits that were drawn of him before finally choosing Cynthia Dibbo’s painting as the winner.  He added :  “The winner was an entry which also elaborated on my other broadcasting work and I felt it would be a great souvenir for my son many,  many years down the line,  as a reminder of what his old man did for a living.”

Cynthia has been entering the competition and volunteering at the Art in the Garden Festival,  where the competition is launched every year,  for 14 years.  She said:  “It is exhilarating to have won.  I have been taking part in the competition for a long time and I came third in 2010 and that made me want to try and achieve first place which I have finally done.

“It still came as a shock when I won and it does wonders for your confidence to get the recognition for my hard work.

“I will still keep entering in the future for the love of it.”

Rob congratulated Cynthia at reception,   attended by the other artists and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield,  Councillor Anne Murphy.

The portrait of the presenter was based on a photo that each artist is allowed to collect from the Town Hall,  at the start of the competition.

The other winners were David Ball in second place and Leslie Cornthwaite who came third.

Rob Walkers joins previous well – known names who have had their portrait painted,  including Pulp drummer Nick Banks,  former Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones,  music icon Dave Berry and BBC Radio Sheffield’s Toby Foster and Rony Robinson and many other familiar faces.