Top commendations awarded at investiture ceremony
A group of six individuals were yesterday recognised for their professional and charitable achievements by the Governor of Gibraltar, Lieutenant General Edward Davis, at an investiture ceremony in The Convent.
The Royal Gibraltar Police’s Assistant Commissioner, Richard Ullger, received the Overseas Territories Medal for his services to policing in Gibraltar.
Jacqueline Dalli received the Imperial Service Medal after working at the Ministry of Defence in Gibraltar for more than 25 years.
There were also three Gibraltar Awards, with one going to the now-retired GHA practitioner Dr William Fitzpatrick, Bayside School physics teacher Stewart Harrison and Charles Marfe for his work with the Calpe House Charitable Trust.
The Commander-in-Chief’s Commendation award went to WO1 Richard Burton for his work as Bandmaster of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band and Corps of Drums.
The ceremony was held at The Convent and was also attended by Government ministers Dr John Cortes and Neil Costa, Commissioner of Police Ian McGrail, and Commander British Forces Commodore Tim Henry.
Lt Gen Davis told the recipients: “You have all made a real difference to the wellbeing of the British Gibraltarian community in terms of both substance and spirit.”
This was followed by a reception in the Cloisters for the recipients and their families.
OVERSEAS TERRITORY MEDAL
Assistant Commissioner Richard Ullger joined the Royal Gibraltar Police more than 30 years ago and was quickly singled out as a “highly competent” individual with “notable potential”.
During his career he has seen many changes come about within the police force and said technology has had a big impact on how policing is done.
“Technology has had a big influence on the way we do things, and just a few days ago the Commissioner was telling retired police officers they would not recognise the job today,” he said.
“The way we do things has changed, policing has become so difficult, so challenging, so transparent and everything has to be accountable.”
“People complain that they no longer see police officers about and this is true because many police officers are taken up by ancillary work that never existed before.”
Mr Ullger said he is looking forward to new recruits to fill those gaps.
“The future in policing lies with collaboration work with lots of other agencies,” Mr Ullger said, highlighting joint operation with the Guardia Civil earlier this week.
“That inter-agency and international cooperation is extremely important because crime has no boundaries and we are finding lots of people are doing cross-border crime.”
Mr Ullger told the Chronicle he is very grateful for the Overseas Territories Police Medal but it was something he also attributed to the people he has served with.
This medal is awarded for exceptional gallantry or distinguished service by police officers in the British Overseas Territory.
IMPERIAL SERVICE MEDAL
Jacqueline Dalli received the Imperial Service Medal for her valuable contributions to the important tasks performed by the Armed Forces who have completed 25 years of service.
She told the Chronicle she has been working with the Ministry of Defence for over 40 years in total.
Even though she retired from her job in the finance office, she maintains close ties with her former colleagues and now friends.
“I have loads of fond memories from work because I met lots of people along the way,” Mrs Dalli said.
“I made a point of getting to know them and I was always referred to as Jackie from Finance, so people knew who I was too.”
Mrs Dalli said it was “very sad” to see the cuts made to the MOD service in Gibraltar because she had such a great time working there.
She said it was gratifying to be recognised for her work, including a detailed “fool-proof” guide she provided to new recruits.
The Gibraltar Award
Three individuals were recognised for the loyal and valuable service which has been of exceptional benefit to the people of Gibraltar.
When Dr William Fitzpatrick came to Gibraltar in 1979 there were only six doctors in Gibraltar who saw up to 60 or 70 patients a day.
Dr Fitzpatrick has been instrumental in improving Gibraltar’s health care system over the years and continues to assist his former colleagues even though he retired five years ago.
He was on the management board that oversaw the Medical (Gibraltar Health Authority) Act 1987 come into effect.
There are now 23 doctors who cater to patients at the Primary Care Centre on a daily basis.
People criticise the healthcare system in Gibraltar because they do not understand the strain that the health service is under, Dr Fitzpatrick said.
Dr Fitzpatrick came into the Gibraltar healthcare after spending nine years as a military doctor and said it was “absolutely chaotic”.
“But, there were also lots of good things because you learnt fast. You have to adapt,” he said.
“Some people came and went after a week but I like Gibraltar and I liked the patients but if I did not I would not have stayed here.”
“If you like Gibraltar, you stay. If you do not like it, you leave, because there is no middle of the road here.”
“I thought I would stay here for six months and I ended up staying for 40 years and now Gibraltar is my home.”
Charles Marfe received the Gibraltar Award for his volunteer work with the Calpe House Charitable Trust.
Last year, the new Calpe House was opened in Norfolk Square for Gibraltarians travelling to the UK for medical treatment.
Mr Marfe got involved when the charity first launched because he had to use the service itself and on his return some friends worked to launch the Friends of Calpe House.
Mr Marfe has since been a trustee and was appointed as the charity’s honorary treasurer.
“Calpe House is wonderful because not only are you staying there for free but you are staying with people who you are bound to know,” he said.
The average cost is in the region of £50 for one night in Calpe House, and Mr Marfe highlighted how difficult it would be to find private accommodation at that price, adding that not everyone in Gibraltar has the means to afford to do so.
Mr Marfe added: “It is very important for the community to continue supporting Calpe House because the money we receive from the Government is minimal.”
“If you put it this way, practically every family in Gibraltar has had a member stay in Calpe House.”
“I would rank it as one of the most important charities in Gibraltar and it is important for Gibraltarians to continue donating, as I am sure they will.”
The third Gibraltar Award was handed to Bayside School’s physics teacher Stewart Harrison.
Over the past few years Mr Harrison’s name has become associated with cyber security after launching local Cyber Centurion teams.
Mr Harrison said he went to great lengths to get girls involved in this venture, adding: “It has been hard work to get the girls to believe in themselves but now that they have overcome that barrier we are looking at boys and girls working equally alongside each other.”
“This is with the same skill and regardless of sex this digital world is for everyone.”
“I am very proud of being given this award but I would like to dedicate this to my students and everyone else who has helped us,” Mr Harrison added.
Mr Harrison has a range of projects in the pipeline to help encourage careers in the digital world and has recently launched the Duke of York’s Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award.
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band and Corps of Drums was struggling before WO1 Richard Burton took over as bandmaster in 2018 and gave it a new lease of life.
This award was given to him for his “meritorious and exemplary service” with the British Forces Gibraltar.
In the first 12 months in his new position, the band performed in 44 engagements including a charity concert with the Welsh tenor Wynne Evans.
“The main challenge in Gibraltar is that it is a small place and while we have lots of different musicians not all of them want to join the army and be in the band,” WO1 Burton explained.
“There is always that challenge of trying to keep fresh blood coming in through the bottom end which is what we are trying to do with the Corps of Drums with the Cadet force.”
WO1 Burton has reached out to working with the Gibraltar Government to recruit new musicians for the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band.
This includes working with youngsters who are GAMPA students, a group of whom performed at the closing of the Investiture Ceremony.
“There you see the future of it and hopefully this will keep the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band and Corps of Drums going for many years to come,” he added.
Pics by Johnny Bugeja