Retired Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller has topped the list of 11 Bermudians to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.
Mrs Justice Wade-Miller was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her decades of service to the island’s legal community and the judiciary.
The judge, who retired this year, was not only the first female Supreme Court justice in Bermuda, but also the first woman to be appointed as a permanent magistrate on the island and the first female Acting Chief Justice.
She served as a puisne judge for 25 years after periods as a magistrate and as the Registrar of the Supreme Court. She is also one of the founders of Project 100 — the leading charity in Bermuda, promoting mental health awareness and raising funds to combat mental disabilities — and set up Spelldown Bermuda, a programme designed to promote spelling in schools, based on a programme operating in Jamaica.
Ten other Bermudian figures were recognised for their contributions through the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour.
The Right Reverend Ewen Ratteray, the first Bermudian to be appointed Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, was honoured for his service to the Church as well as to the wider community.
While Bishop Ratteray has since retired, he still dedicates his time and energy to the Church, providing mentoring and counselling services for those in need. He is also involved in the Pastoral Services Committee of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Heydon Trust and the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association.
Debi Ray-Rivers and Jon Brunson, the founder and board chairman respectively of Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, were recognised for their work helping the island’s children through the charity.
Scars is dedicated to raising awareness of child sexual abuse while offering free prevention training, awareness programmes and campaigning to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect Bermudian children.
Mrs Ray-Rivers is also a Scars-trained facilitator with the Darkness to Light Organisation, whose mission it is to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse, while Mr Brunson serves on numerous boards, including the Bermuda Housing Corporation and the Bermuda Education Council.
Also recognised was Sandra Butterfield, who was honoured for her more than 25 years in treatment services.
Mrs Butterfield not only serves as the executive director for Focus Counselling Services, but has worked tirelessly to create treatment programmes such as Camp Spirit, a relapse prevention programme that she started for men in 1999. She has also worked to establish effective recovery environments, including residency and transitional housing on the island.
Patrina O’Connor-Paynter, the managing director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda and popular radio personality, was honoured for her contributions to the community.
In addition to working with the mentorship organisation for the past nine years, Mrs O’Connor, also known as “PowerGirl Trina”, has been praised for her work in the wider community as a speaker, singer, blogger and a role model to younger Bermudians.
Larry Ebbin was also recognised for his services to the community, specifically for his work promoting and organising chess on the island and off — bringing the Bermuda chess team to the Philippines, Armenia, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Norway, Germany and Italy.
He is still continuing that work, and is now preparing to send a team of eight youngsters between the ages of 5 and 15 to the 2017 Carifta Chess Championships in April.
Judie Clee, the founding member of the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce, was honoured for her service in the field of environmental conservation.
From tracking the giant humpback whale as it migrates past Bermuda every year to the tiniest plastic trash that washes up on Bermuda’s shores, Ms Clee has dedicated enormous amounts of time and passion to the sea and sea creatures.
Roger Sherratt was recognised for his work to support retired and former police officers. Himself a retired officer, Mr Sherratt and others have been credited with reviving the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association.
Mr Sherratt launched the organisation’s website in 2012 and uses it to chronicle biographies of its members. He also works to involve members with full-time police staff so that serving officers can benefit from a relationship with older and more experienced colleagues.
Longstanding magistrate Randolph Ratteray was honoured for his work with the Family Courts of Bermuda, where he presided over thousands of cases in more than 40 years of service.
Mr Ratteray was described as someone who has demonstrated integrity, sensitivity, sound judgment, wisdom, discretion and compassion during his career. In doing so, he has earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues, peers and those families he has helped.
Completing the list is 27-year-old Rodney Smith Jr, who founded Raising Men Lawn Care Services to offer seniors, single mothers and veterans free lawn care services in Alabama. The RMLS also serves as a mentorship programme for young men and women to teach them about the value of helping others.
Since launching the service in 2015 with the goal of cutting 40 lawns, it has grown to include chapters across the United States and Bermuda, with his efforts recognised by both University of Alabama A&M University and President George H.W. Bush.
By Owain Johnston-Barnes The Royal Gazette