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Former first ladies to be saluted

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From left: Project Action co-founder Cindy Swan with board member Kleita Pitcher and supporter Mayberline Black (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Two former first ladies of Bermuda will be saluted as the island’s own royalty for a high tea to benefit the transportation charity Project Action.

Lady Lully Gibbons, the widow of former premier Sir David Gibbons, and Olga Scott, the wife of former premier Alex Scott, will both be honoured at the Bermuda Royals High Tea on April 23.

Cindy Swan, a co-founder of Project Action, said that Lady Gibbons had quietly and selflessly given to others behind the scenes, while Mrs Scott was celebrated for her lifelong commitment to Teen Services.

“We chose these two this year, and next year we will put it to the community — there are so many unsung heroes that we want to cherish,” Mrs Swan told The Royal Gazette. Seniors and the physically challenged depend on Project Action’s bus service, not just for mobility but for a chance to get out and meet others.

But the charity’s budget runs at about $110,000 a year, which nearly sank Project Action last year before donors stepped in, followed by help from Hannover Life Reassurance.

The community was touched by volunteer Rose Douglas’s account of how seniors at rest homes looked forward to the excursions with Project Action and dressed up for the special occasion.

“We’re off life support but we’re still in the hospital,” is how Mrs Swan describes the state of charity number 561.

“Even though we got a new vehicle, we still need funds to operate. We have to pay for a driver and repairs.”

Now in its eighteenth year, the charity has invited young people to its board such as Kleita Pitcher, Angela Velasco, treasurer, and Kimesha Butterfield, chairwoman of fundraising.

High tea has been one of its great successes, beginning with the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee followed, and then the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen.

“People in the community often ask us when we are doing one again,” Mrs Swan said. “We decided to look within Bermuda. From our vantage, these ladies were married to two of the most successful politicians in Bermuda’s modern day history. We encourage people to take off their political lenses when looking at their contributions to society. At the tea party, we will share what these two very unsung first ladies have done to impact the lives of others in Bermuda.”

Ms Pitcher pointed out that Project Action also helps a variety of others, such as dialysis patients, with fellow supporter Mayberline Black described the sense of reward in helping out.

Tickets to the Post-Easter Sunday Bermuda Royals High Tea are available at www.bdatix.bm.

General admission tickets are $80, while corporate sponsorship tables of ten and reserved tables of ten are available for $1,500. All proceeds go towards the charity’s work.

Going forward, Project Action’s royal awards will recognise and celebrate community service leaders and mentors who have given their time to community activities and improved the lives of others. Anyone may nominate.

To sponsor a senior or to learn more, call 297-5044 or e-mail projectactionhightea@gmail.com.

Olga Scott (File photograph)
Lady Lully Gibbons (File photograph)