National Heroes 2015
Morrell and Richards named National Heroes
The Island’s National Heroes for 2015 have been named — Gladys Morrell and Sir Edward “ET” Richards.
Ms Morrell was the suffragette leader of Bermuda’s votes-for-women campaign who risked imprisonment for the cause. Sir Edward was Bermuda’s first black Premier, who took a powerful stand against segregation.
Yesterday’s announcement from Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, ended a fallow period for nominating National Heroes. The last to be put forward was Mary Prince, in 2012. Ms Gordon-Pamplin said it had been decided that Bermuda National Heroes would be posthumous designations.
“Both Gladys Morrell and Sir Edward “ET” Richards have significantly shaped our country and her development,” she said.
“Their contributions have been profound. Both individuals embodied many of the criteria that had been established under Bermuda’s National Heroes guidelines to help determine National Heroes.”
Ms Gordon-Pamlin listed the criteria that the naming and recognition committee took into account before deciding to honour Ms Morrell and Sir Edward Richards.
This included making a significant and lasting contribution to Bermuda, enriching the lives of others, and leaving a legacy that will stand the test of time and be relevant in the future.
She said a National Hero would have contributed to the quality of life in Bermuda, been considered outstanding in their area of activity, had name recognition among the general public, was recognised by his or her profession, and was reflective of our cultural heritage and diversity.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “There is no doubt that both Gladys Morrell and Sir Edward “ET” Richards met most, if not all, of the criteria.”
Last December, Wayne Scott, then Minister for Community, Culture and Sports, appointed a naming and recognition committee tasked with receiving and reviewing nominations from the public.
“The committee did not include any politicians but were representatives of the community at large,” Ms Gordon-Pamplin said.
The committee made recommendations to the Cabinet, who made the final selection.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said that Mrs Morrell was remembered as one of the primary forces advocating for women’s voting rights in Bermuda.
“Mrs Morrell demonstrated tremendous courage, perseverance and fortitude in the face of serious challenges, mountains of obstacles and personal risk of imprisonment,” she added. “[She] shone a spotlight on a number of other issues in the community, including the very high infant mortality rate.
“She was a co-founder of the Bermuda Welfare Society; which established Bermuda’s district nursing system. She was also concerned about environmental issues; hence the Morrell Nature Reserve named in her honour.
“Sir Edward was instrumental in shaping and directing the political landscape as we know it today. [He] was one of the principal architects of the 1968 Bermuda Constitution. During his tenure as leader of the Government, major political changes occurred.
“The Constitution was further refined, resulting in the now familiar bodies and titles such as Cabinet, Senate, Ministers and Premier.
“Sir Edward had been a schoolteacher at the Berkeley Institute, was active in organisations such as the Pembroke Hamilton Club and the Warwick Workman’s Club, and previously worked as an assistant editor of the Recorder.
“Both of the National Heroes being inducted this year have helped to progress Bermuda to the country that we know today. We are indeed most grateful for their sacrifices, their commitment to right ‘wrongs’ and their fortitude.”
This year’s National Heroes are to be inducted at 4pm on Sunday in King’s Square, St George.
• For the full ministerial statement, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”.
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