BEM Award at Government House
The Lieutenant-Governor presented a long-serving local volunteer with the British Empire Medal in recognition of her life-changing relief work in one of Europe's poorest regions, as well as fostering reconciliation between Guernsey and Germany.
Mrs Patricia Holland was awarded the BEM in the 2019 New Year Honours List for charitable service to Guernsey and Romania. She received her medal on Wednesday 10th July, watched by her family, friends and colleagues. The BEM is the most significant award that is presented at Government House, on behalf of The Queen, and is awarded for meritorious service worthy of recognition by the Crown.
His Excellency commented: 'Mrs Holland is living proof that an Islander with vision, compassion and determination can bring positive change to the lives of people living on the other side of Europe. Her faith and humanity have also helped to heal fractured families and to rebuild Guernsey's relationship with Germany. It's fair to say that she is a truly remarkable person and an outstanding ambassador for the Bailiwick.'
Mrs Holland's work over more than 20 years with local charity Friends of Romania has seen tonnes of food, clothing and other essentials transported by road from Guernsey to the town of Bistrița in northern Transylvania, with recent import restrictions seeing a shift to financial aid.
As Chair of the Guernsey Council of Churches Mrs Holland was also instrumental in fostering reconciliation with Biberach, the town to which many Islanders were deported during the occupation of Guernsey.
For more than 40 years Mrs Holland has also been closely involved in Christian Aid Guernsey and worked extensively with adoption charity Norcap, reuniting families separated at birth. She continued this work independently after that charity was disbanded in 2013.