The 100th anniversary of the Order of the British Empire was celebrated locally yesterday at The King’s Chapel. A service of thanksgiving was held in dedication of the newly refurbished gates to the Chapel that has been funded by members of the Gibraltar Association.
The service saw former Governor of Gibraltar Sir Robert Fulton return to the Rock for the first time since he completed his term in his capacity as King of Arms.
Sir Robert unveiled a plaque thanking the Gibraltar OBE Association for their generosity.
Yesterday’s event was attended by Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Commander British Forces Commodore Mike Walliker, Speaker of Parliament Adolfo Canepa, Chairman of the Gibraltar Order Richard Labrador and many members of the Gibraltar Order.
Grand Master, the Duke of Edinburgh, sent a message to the Gibraltar Order from Buckingham Palace which was read out bythe4 Governor.
“In this the 100th anniversary year of the foundation of the Order, I am particularly happy to send my best wishes to all the members of the Gibraltar Association of the Order of the British Empire to the occasion of the 100th Anniversary Church Service and dinner at the Convent today and to congratulate its members on the services to the community which the award of this honour recognises,” Prince Philip wrote.
The service that included hymns and prayers served as a dedication to the Order.
The Order is a system introduced by King George V in 1917 to recognise people for their services to the community. The award system began with a particular focus on those who had served in World War I, later developing into the system in place today.
Anyone can nominate a person for an OBE as long as they can prove a service to the community.
Sir Robert is the King of Arms of the Order of the British Empire for the UK, holding one of six senior positions within the Order, the most senior being Grand Master Prince Philip. The King of Arms acts as the herald of the Order.
“The service follows a service held at St Paul’s cathedral at the end of May to commemorate the anniversary of the Order attended by many of those here,” Sir Robert said.
He added: “These gates will provide a reminder to all who pass through, but also I would like to highlight the importance of servitude to others and the importance also of valuing others and valuing ourselves.”
Revd Mike Wagstaff gave an address in appreciation of the Order’s charity.
“The honours that you deservedly hold are not merely a report of what you have done, but it is a recognition of what you have yet to achieve,” Rev Wagstaff said.
“What characterises this is the presence of a great number of still very much active in the public steer and the professional lives.”
Revd Wagstaff thanked the Order and highlighted their achievements and services to the community.