At a special dinner, hosted by HE Governor Capes last evening (4 November 2014), Stedson Graham Francis of Thompsons Wood was formally presented with his British Empire Medal (BEM), awarded to him under HM Queen’s Birthday Honours in June of this year.
The BEM was awarded to Stedson for his valued contribution to the community of St Helena. Stedson was a voluntary producer for Radio St Helena for some 43 years, until its closure in December 2012, during which time he provided much welcomed entertainment to his many listeners around the Island.
Stedson has also served as Chairman of the Blue Hill Community Centre Association for some 25 years, one of the few community centres which have continued to function continuously during that period of time.
He has also worked with a number of NGOs concerned with farming activities since 1984, such as the Beekeepers Association, Farmers Association, St Helena Growers Cooperative Society and the Man & Horse and Blue Hill Cattle Syndicates. In addition, Stedson has served as a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
The award also recognised Stedson’s service as a Member of the Legislative Council for a period of 12 years from 2001-2013, during which time he served on Executive Council for 4 years.
Governor Capes remarked:
“Occasions such as this I really enjoy as we celebrate a valuable contribution to St Helena. Stedson’s service to his community in Blue Hill and his voluntary support for radio, bringing music and entertainment to St Helena for more than 40 years, is outstanding.
“Always a popular figure, Stedson was a Councillor for quite a few years and it was my privilege to work with him on Executive Council when I first arrived. On behalf of HM The Queen, it is indeed a pleasure this evening to present Stedson with the British Empire Medal.”
“I am really honoured to have received this award and I thank Governor Capes for providing this opportunity to have my family and friends to share this special occasion with me.
“I did what I did because I enjoyed doing it. Serving on the Blue Hill Community Centre Association was a team effort and if I have given people some entertainment and enjoyment over the years via the radio and they felt it worthy of me to have received this award then I am indeed humbled and grateful to receive it, and thank you all for sharing this with me.”
The British Empire Medal was reintroduced in 2012 and rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration and honours continuous service to the community.
Two photos are attached.
5 November 2014