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Two Bermuda-linked UK New Year Honours

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Honoured: Commander Marcus Jacques RN, who was awarded an OBE for his services in the US and for assisting with the setup of the RBR Coastguard (File photograph)
Honoured: Stephen de Silva MBE at St Albans Cathedral in the UK (Photograph supplied)

A Royal Navy officer who helped create the Royal Bermuda Regiment Coastguard and a Bermudian volunteer at a historic British cathedral have featured on the New Year’s Honours List.

Commander Marcus Jacques was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for outstanding performance as the UK’s liaison officer with the United States Coast Guard and for his assistance to the island.

Stephen de Silva, a Bermudian-born British resident, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the country’s heritage.

Ready for duty: (L to R) Commander Marcus Jacques RN, Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley, then-Minister of National Security Wayne Caines, Deputy Governor Alison Crocket, John Rankin, RBR CO Lieutenant Colonel David Curley, Sergeant Major Jeff Patterson and Colour Sergeant Leslie Spanswick of Boat Troop with a refurbished Coastguard boat (File photograph)

Commander Jacques, who is based in Key West, Florida, was tasked by John Rankin, the former Governor, with helping to stand up the RBR Coastguard.

He attended its launch ceremony in February last year, where Mr Rankin commended him for his work.

Commander Jacques was selected by Government House in 2019 to work with the RBR and the police to establish the Coastguard.

Mr de Silva has worked for more than 40 years as a volunteer and guide at historic St Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire, founded in the 11th century.

Mr de Silva, who attended Warwick Academy and university in the UK and remained after graduation as a teacher, said: “It was such a pleasant surprise.

“You don’t volunteer for awards, you volunteer because you think it does something for people and for your community.

“But to get something like this was such a nice surprise.”

Mr de Silva added: "This is just one award for one little volunteer, there's lots of us who keep that place alive."

The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans said: "The whole Cathedral community will rejoice that Stephen has been given this award.

"His contribution over many years has been immeasurable, not only to the Cathedral’s cultural heritage, but also to its worship and community life. We are all proud of him and happy for him, and grateful to him for being the person he is as well as for the work he has done."

Tim Fleming, the chief operating officer at the cathedral, added: "Stephen brings a true sense of vocation and care to everything he does, bringing his natural gifts of teacher and communicator to so many people.

"He is always interested in the potential of others and deeply understands why knowledge has to sit alongside meaning. I was privileged to have Stephen as my religious education teacher when I was at school. It is a joy to see him receive this honour all these years later."

Mr de Silva is also chairman of the cathedral guides and active in their training and organisation.

The former trustee of the Cathedral Education Trust also led a team of volunteers and staff in the design a major new exhibition at St Albans Cathedral after it was awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016.

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Published January 06, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 05, 2021 at 9:09 pm)

Two Bermuda-linked UK New Year Honours

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