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Ferson heads Queen’s Birthday Honours List

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Ginny Ferson OBE (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ginny Ferson, the Deputy Governor, has headlined a group of six locals who have been acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday honours List.

Mrs Ferson has been appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, while the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour have gone to Leleath Gloria Bailey, William Cooke, Cynthia S. Cox, Mary Lodge and Ian Murdoch.

Ginny Ferson OBE

The honour is in recognition of Mrs Ferson’s services to child safeguarding in the British Overseas Territories.

Mrs Ferson was appointed as Deputy Governor of Bermuda in December 2013. As a career diplomat she has previously served in Mauritius, Luxembourg, South Korea, Pakistan and New Zealand where she was Deputy Governor of the Pitcairn Islands. In early 2016 she undertook a five-month assignment in St Helena to implement the recommendations of the Wass Inquiry into child safeguarding. During her tenure of office in Bermuda, she has also been involved in encouraging measures to ensure effective safeguarding of children on the island, working closely with government agencies and voluntary organisations.

On the announcement of the Award, Mrs Ferson said: “I am thrilled to receive this award and I count myself fortunate to have been in a position where I could share best practice about child safeguarding across the Overseas Territories. I know many individuals are doing a lot of good work around child safeguarding in Bermuda and in the other territories where I have worked. I encourage them to continue to raise awareness about child abuse and our collective responsibility to do right by our children.”

Leleath Gloria Bailey — for services to the community

Leleath Gloria Bailey’s service to the community spans more than 37 years and began when she was appointed chairwoman of the Midland Heights Association. Ms Bailey has served the association since 1978 and has been instrumental in resolving the residents’ problems. She is president of both the Board of Trustees and the Neighbourhood Watch Committee.

Professionally, Ms Bailey has been equally dedicated and worked for more than 40 years in the Civil Service. She worked for a number of departments, including Public Works, Community Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Health and, finally, the Parliamentary Registry as a registration officer.

Ms Bailey was also a dedicated member of the Bermuda Public Services Union and served as the president from 1994 to 1998. She was the first female to be elected president by the membership rather than previous presidents, who were elected by delegates. In 1994 as president, she represented the union on the Joint Labour Day Organising Committee and served as a volunteer Secretary for 17 years. Ms Bailey also co-authored the history book Labour on the March with Alvin Williams in 2000. The book depicts the story of the labour movement in Bermuda from its inception.

From 1997 to 2000. Ms Bailey served as titular member of the Public Services International World Women’s Committee and travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Yokohoma, Japan, and to Central America and South America.

She volunteers for the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton and became lieutenant governor in 2008, the second-highest position in Kiwanis International and the highest position in Bermuda. For more than a decade, she has been a volunteer life coach for the Mirrors Programme.

In 2007, she was appointed to the Government Employment Tribunal, the Government Arbitration Panel and the Essential Industries and Disputes Panel. In 2011, Ms Bailey was selected as one of the 100 women, 100 visions celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day 1911-2011.

William Richard Cooke — for services to the community, especially in the areas of medicine and maritime history

William “Bill” Cooke was the third of nine children, and the first in the family to aspire to a higher education. After serving in the US Army, Bill attended St Michael’s College in Vermont from 1948 to 1952, under the G.I. Bill and obtained a Bachelor of Science in biology with honours. In September 1952, he entered the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and graduated MD CM in 1956. This was financed by a four-year grant from H.A. & E. Smith’s Ltd.

While in medical school, he married a nurse from Montreal General Hospital, Anne Prescott, and they had a daughter, Kathryn, and a son, James, before returning to Bermuda in June 1962. Once settled in Bermuda, Dr Cooke entered clinical practice as a specialist in internal medicine and was soon recognised by his colleagues. In 1975, Dr Cooke introduced the oncology programme at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where he treated patients and trained nurse Hiliary Soares in oncology procedures. The department quickly expanded.

Dr Cooke became involved in the administration of the hospital and the hospital’s organisation, while simultaneously conducting his own clinical work until his retirement on December 31, 1995. He also served as the first hospital Chief of Staff.

After his retirement, Dr Cooke volunteered at the National Museum of Bermuda for 12 years. During his time at the museum, he worked on the cataloguing of materials relating to the shipwreck collections of the museum and thus was a major background contributor to the recently published book on the subject Shipwrecked: Bermuda’s Maritime Heritage, by Gordon Watts FSA. Other archival work led to his editing of the museum publication Bermuda: Growth of a Naval Base, 1795—1932, published in 2009 as part of the museum’s monograph series.

More recently, Dr Cooke made a significant contribution to the book Dr Savage’s Bermuda, which was published by the museum in 2015, after the significant donation of 49 watercolour paintings of the island in the period from 1833 to 1836.

Cynthia S. Cox — for services to the community

Cynthia S. Cox graduated from the University of Oxford in 1985 with an M. Phil in management studies. Before that she attended Georgetown University, Washington 1977-81 and attained a BSc in foreign service with a concentration in international economics. In 2015 she attained her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

Mrs Cox is the founder, and has been director and president or co-president of Knowledge Quest Ltd since its inception in 2002. Knowledge Quest is a Bermudian-registered charity that provides college/university scholarships to Bermudian students who otherwise could not afford to study abroad.

Knowledge Quest has funded more than 150 Bermudians and spent more than $3 million, with no overhead expenses except bank charges, since the charity’s inception in 2002.

From 2011, Mrs Cox has been a director at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. From 2003 Mrs. Cox has been general manager of Cheyne Capital’s Bermudian-based companies.

Mary Lodge — for services to St George’s Preparatory School

Mary Lodge began teaching in 1974 as a high school biology teacher. She spent several years working from the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo as the science resource teacher to primary schools, also working with a team to produce resource books for educators which are still in use today. In the 1990s, she spent three years as a mentor teacher for the Ministry of Education, ensuring that new and young teachers at all levels were fully equipped for success.

In 1998, Mrs Lodge was appointed as the first female principal of St George’s Preparatory School. She credits Vivlyn Cooper and Joseph Christopher as being inspiring mentors and the Board of Trustees of St George’s Prep for their dedication and support.

Visitors to St George’s Prep often comment on how exceedingly well-behaved the students are. Part of the ethos of Mrs Lodge’s school goes beyond academics and focuses on developing well-rounded people that are good citizens and kind to one another. She credits this to the parents and broader community encouraging the diverse student body. She also models this commitment to the community in her own life, volunteering with a variety of different non-profits over the years including the Gilbert Institute PTA, the Bermuda Mental Health Foundation, Bermuda Zoological Society, Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda and The Chewstick Foundation.

During her 43-year career, she has taught thousands of Bermudians including doctors, artists, lawyers and educators.

Ian Murdoch — for services to the marine environment

Mr Murdoch has been involved in marine conservation for more than 35 years and helped to shape Bermuda’s marine conservation policies. In 1983 he was appointed to the Fisheries Advisory Committee, which he served on for seven years. That same year, he formed the Bermuda Divers’ Association with owners of local commercial dive operations to draw attention to overfishing and encourage protection for the marine environment.

In 1984, Mr Murdoch requested that the Government set aside six popular dive sites as protected areas where fishing was to be banned. This was agreed to by the environment minister in 1989. Additional locations have been added over time.

Between 1984 and 1985, Mr Murdoch led an effort, through the Bermuda Divers’ Association, to clean up and sink the abandoned ship Hermes with the aid of Marine and Ports. The ship has become a popular dive site. For two years, 1988-1990, Mr Murdoch worked with the Bermuda Divers’ Association to conduct surveys to convince government that fish stocks were being depleted and that a ban on fish pots was imperative. Fish pots were ultimately banned in 1990.

In 1999, working with BAMZ, Mr Murdoch requested that an additional 20 protected sites be added to the list. He also organised and implemented the installation of 27 fixed moorings for protected offshore dive sites to avoid anchor damage to the reefs.

Shortly after the government of the day threatened to reintroduce fishing pots, Mr Murdoch resurrected the conservation group Friends of Fish between 1998 and 2000. With the aid of Steve Cook, Mr Murdoch organised an international conference called Bermuda and the Sea 2000, with the objective of educating local and international attendees about the perils of reintroducing fish pots.

In 2005, he was involved in bringing attention to an offshore black grouper spawning site and encouraging the Government to mandate protection during spawning season.

Mr Murdoch has been a scuba diver for more than 50 years and is an accomplished marine photographer. Through his appointment to the Marine Resources Board, he continues to advocate for marine conservation.

Leleath Gloria Bailey
William Richard Cooke
Mary Lodge
Cynthia S Cox
Ian Murdoch