Friday night saw the final presentation this summer of Girlguiding's prestigious Laurel Award to Jean Parkes, former County Commissioner for Herefordshire.
However, this presentation was slightly different as Jean knew she was receiving the award!
Jean was told last year that she had been awarded a Laurel at a county meeting and that a party and presentation were to be arranged at a time when some of her family, who are Lone members of BGO ( British Girlguiding Overseas), and living in Uganda, could fly over for the presentation. Sadly the date was fixed for May! After cancelling that date it was eventually agreed that the presentation could not be put off any longer and a new date, when family and friends could gather together for a Zoom meeting, was arranged.
Jean and her husband Ted were kept in the Zoom waiting room until all the guests were assembled. Just after 7pm they were allowed in by the County Chair of Awards, and Deputy Chief Commissioner, Sandy Kinnersley, who acted as MC for the event. After introductions and a chance for Jean to take in who was there, and welcome them personally, the presentation started. It was particularly lovely to see Jean's two granddaughters, both in uniform, tuning in all the way from Uganda!
Sandy invited the people who had written letters of support to speak about the area of outstanding service that they had highlighted in their citations. We heard about Jean's guiding under difficult circumstances with BGO in Saudi Arabia, her role as a unit leader, commissioner and eventually County Commissioner.
Following these citations and a toast to Jean given by the current CC, Sue Bucknell, The Chief Commissioner, Abi invited Ted to present his wife with her long awaited and well deserved Laurel Award. Congratulations, memories and general chat followed as Jean thanked everyone for their support and attendance.
It had been another successful virtual presentation and following one of the themes that came out of the stories that evening, that of Jean the "Party Queen", I have no doubt that as soon as they are allowed to, Jean will get her well deserved celebration.
Sincere congratulations and many thanks to Jean for all she has done for Girlguiding.