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Duffy ‘honoured’ to receive birthday award

Gallant soldier: Major Ben Beasley awarded BEM for services to the military

People honoured in the Queen’s Birthday list said yesterday they were shocked to be singled out.

Flora Duffy, star triathlete, who was awarded the Order of the British Empire medal for her sporting achievements, said she was “honoured” to at the recognition.

She added it was “an unexpected and humbling moment”.

Ms Duffy, a Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner in Australia this year, was one of eight people recognised in the annual summer list of awards.

The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Major Ben Beasley, given the British Empire Medal for services to the island in the military and for other public service, said he was surprised to be honoured. He said: “It’s humbling to know that someone or a few people have thought what you have done is worth discussing, let alone spend their valuable time writing you up for an honour.

Major Beasley, in addition to his RBR duties, which included last year’s America’s Cup, was recognised for his work with young people’s adventure charity Outward Bound and in the island’s rugby world.

He said: “I hope that my role in these different areas have, in some small way, made a positive impact into the fabric of Bermuda’s society.”

Major Beasley also thanked the people who had supported him and helped in his community work.

He said: “Nothing that appears in the citation is for an exclusively individual effort, they have all been group activities: military duties, America’s Cup, Outward Bound, and rugby.

“I have been fortunate to work through the years with some truly dedicated people who shared my belief in our various causes.”

Neil De Ste Croix was awarded a BEM for his work with the Tri-Hedz Junior Triathlon Club.

He said: “I was quite honoured. Shocked. You never expect to be honoured. You do it because you believe in it, you volunteer because you love to see children improve and develop, not just in sports but also as people.”

He said he was particularly happy to be honoured in the same year as Ms Duffy, who was involved in Tri-Hedz as a young athlete. Mr De Ste Croix said: “I was very, very honoured. It’s an honour just to be mentioned in the same breath as Flora Duffy.

“She’s a fantastic person, and an amazing role model.”

Chief Inspectors Na’imah Astwood and Jerome Laws were both given with Overseas Territories Police Medals for their contributions to the police service.

Ms Astwood, the highest ranking woman officer in the service, said: “It is indeed an honour to be chosen for such an esteemed award especially during my holy month of Ramadan. This award is a true blessing from God and I thank my family, friends and my community who have continuously supported me.”

She added: “When I see the quality of individuals that were honoured with me, it reminds me of a quote from Shirley Chisholm who stated ‘service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth’.

“I am cognisant of my role as a police officer and it is a role that I do not take lightly as I continue to serve my community.”

Mr Laws added: “I set out on an adventure 31 years ago as a cadet. Little did I know the Bermuda Police Service would have a profound impact on my life.

“Today, I am just as committed to serving my community as I was the very first day that I put on this uniform. I am humbled to be included in this year’s Queen’s Honours listing.”

Judith James, who was given the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for contributions to Bermuda public schools, said she was “very pleasantly surprised” by the distinction.

Ms James, who retired in 2016 after a 47-year career in the classroom, was recognised for her work in the promotion of literacy, and representing Bermudian traditions overseas, said: “I was chuffed.”

She joked she had been doing “old Bermuda stuff for 300 years, but I was not expecting the recognition”.

Lindsay Simmons, recognised for her foster care work with a Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour, also said she was surprised to find out she would be among those honoured.

She said: “When they called me, at first I thought they were just telling me I had been nominated, and I thought that was nice. Then she told me I had actually won the award. I was shocked.”

She added: “I never did any of this for recognition. Hopefully it will help to inspire other people to help children.”

Also honoured was Major Leslie Lowe, who was given a Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for his services to music and the community. Major Lowe could not be contacted for comment yesterday.