OBEs for Kishin Alwani and Greg Butcher in Queen’s Birthday Honours
The Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year acknowledged work carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic and in planning for Brexit, alongside philanthropic and charitable work.
Four individuals from Gibraltar were granted National Honours, including a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, a public servant and a military man.
Kishinchand Alwani was made an Officer of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [OBE] for services to philanthropic and charitable work in Gibraltar.
Mr Alwani told the Chronicle he was very pleased to have been contacted by the Governor’s office to meet with Sir David for a coffee.
It was there that he learnt he was going to receive an OBE, and he hopes that he will have the opportunity to meet Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion.
“I am honoured and accepting the OBE with humility and on behalf of all the people I have served in the community,” Mr Alwani said.
“My intention is to continue serving the community in Gibraltar and for providing a space for arts and culture.”
Mr Alwani founded the Kishin Alwani Foundation, which serves to provide funds to local companies, while also sponsoring prizes in the artistic sphere.
In recent years, the Foundation has made donations to local charities such as GibSams, Clubhouse Gibraltar and others from sales from the Kishin Alwani Foundation Charity Shop, which he looks forward to doing.
Local businessman Greg Butcher was also made an Officer of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [OBE] for services to the economy and charitable work in Gibraltar.
“It’s an immense honour to receive this OBE, thank you,” Mr Butcher said.
“Trying to be an entrepreneur has never been easy, but it has been an unforgettable journey.”
“I can’t forget the challenges faced starting my first business and running my second one from my kitchen whilst at university; and the failures as well as the excitement and motivation that came with the occasional success.”
“As the years have passed, I am grateful to my colleagues that these businesses have grown into large multi-national operations.”
“The challenges continue, but I am also pleased to say that the motivation and excitement also burns bright.”
“I am now also fortunate enough to have time to reflect and to focus an increasing amount of my time and resources on supporting important charitable initiatives, with a look to instilling positive change and meaningful development in these initiatives.”
Mr Butcher said since arriving on the Rock some 20 years ago, Gibraltar has very much become his “home” and he was very honoured to receive his “red [ID] card”.
“The palpable feeling of common purpose in Gibraltar, akin to something you would feel in a big family, is unique and is a real asset to us all,” Mr Butcher added.
“It has been in abundance throughout the Covid pandemic, and it is felt again when we together face the challenges of Gibexit.”
“I am grateful for this honour, and I feel that it is something that is just as much a result of my colleagues, and the collective success for us all in Gibraltar, as it is for myself, personally.”
Major Frederick John Pitto became a Member of the British Empire [MBE] for services to Headquarters British Forces Gibraltar.
Mr Pitto is among the youngest in Gibraltar to be bestowed the honour.
The father-of-three told the Chronicle: “I started this role in British Forces Gibraltar at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“It saw me jump straight into the role of the Covid liaison officer between the Command and the Government of Gibraltar.”
“It kept me busy for the last couple of years.”
“There has also been my involvement in looking at contingency plan from a military perspective in the event of a no negotiated outcome [on Brexit].”
The last few years have been a challenge, involving lots of long days and long nights.
“I am very humbled to have received the award and the award I take on board is not only for my efforts but the efforts of the great team I have around me,” Mr Pitto added.
“And that includes as well the patience of my family, my wife Natalia, and my parents.”
He said he was looking forward to collecting his award at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, adding that it would be a “special moment” for him and his family.
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment were recently presented with their Regimental Colours by the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, in Windsor Castle.
Though Mr Pitto missed out on the opportunity to be there with his colleagues from the Regiment, he is looking forward to the Queen’s Birthday Parade during the Royal Visit.
Susan Vallejo was also bestowed with an MBE for services to leadership in healthcare in Gibraltar during the Covid-19 pandemic. Mrs Vallejo has worked in the healthcare system in Gibraltar for the past 40 years, with 33 years spent at the hospital’s A&E department and the recent years as the ERS Care Manager.
“First of all, I would like to say that I feel deeply honoured to receive this award,” she said.
“I would like to thank the community for nominating me and I would also like to thank the committee for their consideration.”
“As a nurse I have always strived to give the best care possible to Patients and Residents together with their families.”
“Over the many years I have learnt that dignity, respect, compassion, and kindness are key to the work we do.”
“I hope that I have provided not only this, but also role-modelled it to the many others who I have had the fortune of working with.”
“Through the course of my working life, I have cared for many patients who are now friends.”
“Valuing people and helping them at their most vulnerable is the most rewarding feeling you can achieve from working in the health and social care profession.”
Mrs Vallejo detailed the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic presented, describing it as the “worst years” in her long career.
“Covid has been devastating to all and we have particularly felt it with our elders,” Mrs Vallejo told the Chronicle.
“I have worked many long hours away from my family, who I would also like to thank for their unwavering support.”
“I work with an amazing team who have shared the journey with me and without whom the past few years would have been much worse.”
“I would also like to thank our residents and their families for their continued support and understanding, despite the necessary measures we have put in place.”
“So all that remains to be said is that I am truly privileged and thankful to receive this recognition not only in my name, but for the Gibraltarian community as a whole.”
Two individuals will receive the Gibraltar Award from the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel.
Norbert Sene will receive the award for services to the Catholic Community in Gibraltar.
Meanwhile Matthew Turnock will receive the Gibraltar Award for services to the disabled community in Gibraltar.