Four Islanders recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours List
FOUR Islanders have been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year.
Joan Richard and Imogen Nicholls have both been made MBEs.
Mrs Richard received her honour for services to the community as chairwoman of Jersey Cancer Relief, and Ms Nicholls was made an MBE in recognition of her services to music in Jersey as a singing teacher and choral director.
Also among the recipients was Julian Clyde-Smith, who was made an OBE for his services to charity and the legal profession.
The fourth Islander to be honoured was Richard Richomme, who received the British Empire Medal for his contributions as a team leader with Jersey Overseas Aid.
The Lieutenant-Governor, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, paid tribute to the four recipients at a Government House reception yesterday to mark the Queen’s official birthday.
‘A bolt from the blue’ was how Mr Richomme (75) described receiving the news that he had been awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to Jersey Overseas Aid.
‘I thought someone was pulling my leg when I was told it was the Lieutenant-Governor on the phone,’ he said.
‘I was quite engrossed in doing something else at the time – I was actually in De Gruchy’s selling lottery tickets – so it took me a few seconds to gather my wits about me.’
Describing himself as a ‘local lad’, Mr Richomme left the Island at the age of 16 to enrol in a British Army apprentice college in South Wales. He went on to become a warrant officer in the Royal Engineers.
He was involved in a succession of Army construction projects around the world, ranging from the rebuilding of the NATO headquarters in Belgium through to a secondment with the Maltese government, helping their engineering team build a deep-water quay.
He returned to Jersey to assist with the building of Patriotic Street car park and to oversee the maintenance of the Island’s sea defences and historic monuments.
Then, in 2006, he became involved with Jersey Overseas Aid.
During his career with the British Army, Mr Richomme designed and delivered aid programmes to remote parts of the UK, but the opportunities provided by JOA introduced him to a new kind of experience, which immediately got him ‘hooked’.
In 2006 he joined a JOA team in Kenya as their technical adviser on a project to build a primary school. After that, there was no looking back.
‘I could name so many Jersey success stories, all of which can be attributed to the careful preparation and implementation of Jersey Overseas Aid,’ he said. ‘The management group there, and the Commission themselves, are an absolute joy to work with.’
What started with the selling of Christmas cards led to a near two-decade affiliation with Jersey Cancer Relief for Mrs Richard.
A former nurse, she has been made an MBE for her charitable work.
‘My husband, many years ago, was involved in a charity that was closing and the money was to be given to Jersey Cancer Relief,’ she said. ‘At the presentation I said I would be interested in helping out and I started by selling Christmas cards to raise a bit of money. I was invited on the committee and it went from there – before I could blink I was chair.’
After 18 years working with the charity, Mrs Richard stepped aside as chairwoman last November but continues to play an active role as a member of the committee.
Jersey Cancer Relief provides financial support for Islanders diagnosed with cancer.
‘The contact with patients is the part of it I really enjoy – it’s the nurse in me,’ she said.
As well as helping patients, the charity has also been covering salaries for hospital specialists, most recently helping the Hospital with the appointment of a specialist nurse.
Mrs Richard hopes that her MBE will help raise the profile of Jersey Cancer Relief.
‘We are always looking for ways to raise the profile of the charity,’ she said.
Mrs Richard added that she was ‘absolutely stunned’ when she received a call three weeks ago from Lieutenant-Governor Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton and admitted she had struggled to keep the news a secret.
When the phone call came from the Lieutenant-Governor, Ms Nicholls (61) was in the middle of teaching a singing class.
‘My immediate thought was that he must have rung up to say how lovely the children [Ms Nicholls’ choir] were on Liberation Day,’ she said.
However, when she returned the call, she discovered that she had been made an MBE for services to music in Jersey.
‘I was so surprised that I actually asked him if I could think about it,’ she said. ‘I just wondered why on earth me. It is a great honour for a teacher to receive an MBE – and, of course, a teacher is of no consequence without her students.
‘Over the years I have had the most talented and dedicated students and so I thought, “I will accept it on behalf of them”.’
Ms Nicholls also credited her own teacher, Amy Luce (a fellow MBE), with having set her on the path that led to this award.
‘She taught me almost everything I know about singing teaching,’ she said.
As a young woman in the late 1970s, Ms Nicholls left Jersey to study at the Royal Academy of Music before embarking on a career as a professional opera singer in Oxford and Europe.
She returned to Jersey in 1989 and went on to establish her own music school and, in particular, the youth choir that would achieve victories in a range of international competitions.
Simultaneously, Ms Nicholls also pursued a career in Island politics, serving as the Deputy of Grouville and the President of both the Legislation and Tourism Committees, for three consecutive terms between 1993 and 2002.
Ms Nicholls, who still has as many as 100 children coming to her sessions each week, has no plans to slow down.
So how does it feel, on top of all that, to be honoured in the Queen’s birthday list?
‘Unbelievable, just unbelievable,’ she said.
A charity leader and one of the Island’s most senior legal professionals has been made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Julian Clyde-Smith was one of the founders of the Beresford Street Kitchen, which offers people with learning disabilities and autism the chance to gain work experience and full-time jobs.
Mr Clyde-Smith has also been heavily involved with Mind Jersey – serving as the mental-health charity’s executive director.
As well as his charitable work, the former partner at law firm Ogier also serves as a Royal Court Commissioner, presiding over some of the Island’s most serious criminal and civil cases.