In a first for Guernsey, the Lieutenant Governor has presented a British Empire Medal in a special ceremony conducted in sign language.
His Excellency learnt some simple phrases so he could communicate with Miss Anne Diamond who signed her own citation and Sir Ian Corder's speech, so some of her family and friends with hearing loss who were in the audience could be included in the ceremony.
The volunteer has worked with the hard of hearing community in Guernsey for more than 30 years - learning to sign before teaching sign language courses herself.
Pictured: Miss Diamond signing her own citation, which was read out by ADC Marco Ciotti
Miss Diamond was awarded the BEM in the 2018 New Year Honours List in honour of her services to the deaf community in Guernsey. She received her medal on Thursday 31 May, at Government House, watched by her family, friends and colleagues. They included her friend Mr Torode, whose parents had initially introduced her to sign language.
His Excellency explained how much of an honour the award is: "The British Empire Medal is awarded for meritorious service worthy of recognition by the Crown, and is the most significant award that is presented here at Government House."
Sir Ian added how impressed he was with Miss Diamond's lengthy volunteer work which has helped a section of society who don't receive any States funding: "Miss Diamond continues to work tirelessly as a volunteer in support of profoundly deaf people in Guernsey, as she has done for most of her adult life. She has been the driving force in transforming the lives of one of the most marginalised minorities within our community."
As well as helping to promote and teach sign language in Guernsey, Miss Diamond helps a number of people with day to day tasks, including shopping.
Pictured: Miss Diamond signing during the ceremony
The BEM was first awarded in 1922 until it was retired in 1993 and then reintroduced in 2012. 70% of recipients have been people who have undertaken "outstanding work in their communities, either in a voluntary or paid capacity."
Miss Diamond received her award in the 2018 New Year Honours list. A total of 1,123 people received an award in the 2018 New Year Honours list, including 318 receiving the BEM. The full list included 551 women, representing 49 percent of the total.
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