12 October 2020
His Excellency, Governor Dr Philip Rushbrook is pleased to announce that Mrs Barbara Brown George of Willowbough, Gordon’s Post has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Barbara was nominated for her services to the cultural heritage of St Helena in recognition of her devotion to educating the people of St Helena on the rich and diverse history of the Island.
Barbara has spent many years of her life teaching formal education and later conducting research into St Helena’s rich history. She initially taught Science and Maths in Secondary Schools through the Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO) 1964-65 and later became involved in the upgrading of the Education system and the setting up of Prince Andrew School in 1988.
During her career, Barbara took on other roles which included working in a voluntary capacity for the St Helena Heritage Society from 1982 and later becoming the first Director of the St Helena National Trust in 2002. Alongside of these roles and on a personal level, Barbara invested countless hours actively researching and preparing books on local history in a readable format for both children and adults. Her books and booklets cover a wide range of topics, which include, iconic landmarks such as Jacob’s Ladder, the Chinese Indentured Labourers on St Helena, Whaling, and the Boer prisoners.
Barbara also did a regular weekly radio programme on local history along with contributing articles for the local Herald newspaper. Her research supported the excavation of a section of Liberated African graveyard in Rupert’s Valley in preparation for the Air Access (Haul) Road from Rupert’s. Her input was acknowledged in the Report by the team of archaeologists which undertook the work through the department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol, stating that: “Both during the excavation and subsequently, Barbara George has tirelessly answered questions about St Helenian history, following up lines of enquiry which could not be answered by UK-based sources.”
Barbara is still continuing her research today and she is currently working on a booklet about Dinizulu and the 1907-10 Poll Tax Zulu Chiefs. Her books are available at the St Helena Museum and the Arts and Crafts at the Canister.
Governor Rushbrook commented:
“I congratulate and thank Barbara for painstakingly taking the time to research and unearth a wealth of rich local history and for making it available for both Islanders and visitors to read. Her work will be used for generations to come. Her dedication to educating people on the subject is outstanding. She is well deserving of this Honour.”
“I was very surprised to be told of this Award, and am indeed honoured to receive such recognition for my work in making local history readily available.
“I would like to thank the people who have helped me along the way, starting with Mr Trevor Hearl, history lecturer of the much valued Cheltenham Link for Education who stimulated my interest in Island history.
“I spent many hours in the local Archives. It is an invaluable source of information over the centuries and I would like to mention the late Mr Cecil Maggott and his assistant Mrs Maureen Stevens, and in more recent times, Karen Henry and Tracy Buckley have also helped.”
Official publication of the 2020 Birthday Honours List is in the UK Government’s London Gazette. The Gazette can be accessed online at: www.thegazette.co.uk.The List is also usually published in several broadsheet national newspapers. You can also view the List on GOV.UK.
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Anyone can nominate someone for an honour. To find out how you can nominate please visit: www.gov.uk/honours or contact the Secretary to the Honours Committee, Linda Benjamin via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor’s Office, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
10 October 2020