Medal re­cip­i­ent praises queen as ‘a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of a hu­man be­ing’

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN THE COM­PASS

A grace­ful and gra­cious lady, who was fond of pre­sent­ing the Duke of Ed­in­burg with bot­tles of New­found­land Screech, has re­ceived the Queen’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Medal.

De­siree Dich­mont ac­cepted the medal and framed cer­tifi­cate dur­ing a brief cer­e­mony at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal on Wed­nes­day, July 18.

Nor­man Macfie, pro­vin­cial chair­man and na­tional vice-chair­man of the Royal Com­mon­wealth So­ci­ety of Canada, New­found­land and Labrador Branch was on hand to present the award to Miss Dich­mont, as she is still af­fec­tion­ately known among her for­mer students — or Diz, to her many friends.

Eric But­ler, the so­ci­ety’s vice-chair said, “we’re here to honor a very spe­cial lady. She’s an hon­orary life mem­ber (of the so­ci­ety) and she has been awarded a very spe­cial medal.”

Af­ter mak­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Macfie told The Com­pass he re­ceived his Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Medal in May, and he and Dich­mont are among 37 mem­bers of the so­ci­ety from across Canada, who will re­ceive the medals this year. He ex­plained all mem­bers are nom­i­nated for the awards at the na­tional level.

Macfie and Dich­mont are among some 60,000 Cana­di­ans who will re­ceive the medals this year for their con­tri­bu­tions to their coun­try.

He was im­pressed to re­port that Gover­nor John­ston signed ev­ery sin­gle one of them with his own hand.

Dich­mont, who founded the so­ci­ety’s lo­cal branch in 1983, was nom­i­nated by the na­tional pres­i­dent, Colin Re­ichle.

“Not only was Diz chair of the New­found­land and Labrador branch, Royal Com­mon­wealth So­ci­ety, she was also the na­tional chair of that group. This medal is awarded in recog­ni­tion of her ser­vice to Canada over the years, pri­mar­ily through the Com­mon­wealth So­ci­ety, but for other con­tri­bu­tions to the coun­try as well,” Macfie added.

The in­scrip­tion on the cer­tifi­cate reads: “By com­mand of Her Majesty The Queen, the Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Medal is pre­sented to you in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 60th an­niver­sary of Her Majesty’s ac­ces­sion to the Throne.

“It’s a very spe­cial honor to present you with this medal,” he told Dich­mont.

Meet­ing Queen

A glo­be­trot­ter and staunch monar­chist, Dich­mont had the priv­i­lege of meet­ing the Queen on many oc­ca­sions in many parts of the world. She re­called one par­tic­u­lar oc­ca­sion more than 20 years ago in New Zealand, where she was at­tend­ing an in­ter­na­tional meet­ing of the so­ci­ety.

Point­ing out that not many peo­ple say any­thing to the Queen when they meet her ex­cept good af­ter­noon, Dich­mont re­called say­ing to her majesty: “I want to thank you for be­ing such a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of a hu­man be­ing. In turn, the Queen smiled and thanked me for the com­ple­ment,” Dich­mont re­called.

It was on that same oc­ca­sion, while in­tro­duc­ing a New­found­land del­e­ga­tion of so­ci­ety mem­bers to the royal cou­ple, that she — act­ing as an un­of­fi­cial am­bas­sador from New­found­land — pre­sented the Duke of Ed­in­burg with a bot­tle of New­found­land Screech, which he gra­ciously ac­cepted. She said she also pre­sented him with bot­tles of Screech on at least two oth- er oc­ca­sions. How did Prince Phillip like the Screech? “He was tick­led pink. He has a won­der­ful sense of hu­mour.”

De­scrib­ing the Queen as “a very gra­cious lady,” Dich­mont said, she’s a won­der­ful woman. I feel hon­ored to be re­ceiv­ing her Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Medal.”

Look­ing around at the crowd of about 40, made up of fam­ily, friends and mem­bers of the Royal Com­mon­wealth So­ci­ety, Dich­mont said, “My word! I cer­tainly didn’t ex­pect as many as this. It’s amaz­ing! It’s lovely!”

Re­fer­ring to her niece, Ann Ul­rick, who was vis­it­ing from Lon­don, Eng­land, she said, “it’s won­der­ful that Ann is able to be here this week.”

New New­found­land home

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Dich­mont has spent 46 of her 86 years in Car­bon­ear.

She first ar­rived here in Jan­uary 1966 with her part­ner, Elva Lock­lin, who is cur­rently a res­i­dent of a se­niors’ home in Pla­cen­tia.

Lock­lin came to Car­bon­ear to take up a po­si­tion first as di­rec­tor of nurs­ing at the old Car­bon­ear Red Cross Memo­rial Hospi­tal. She was later pro­moted to be­come ad­min­is­tra­tor, a role she con­tin­ued a decade later at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

Dich­mont taught in the area for 14 years, at the old James Moore Re­gional High and St. Paul’s High in Har­bour Grace.

A sea­soned trav­eller and firm be­liever in the value of travel as an ed­u­ca­tional tool to help ex­pose them to dif­fer­ent cul­tures and broaden their hori­zons, she was very much in­volved with the area’s youth, es­pe­cially in rais­ing funds to take them on field trips to places like St. Pierre et Miquelon, the French is­lands off the prov­ince’s south coast.

Aside from their pro­fes­sional ca­reers, Dich­mont and Lock­lin also op­er­ated a travel agency and other en­ter­prises from their home in Crocker’s Cove over­look­ing Con­cep­tion Bay.

bbow­man@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Pho­tos by Bill Bow­man/the Com­pass

Nor­man Macfie pins the Queen’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Medal on De­siree Dich­mont dur­ing a brief cer­e­mony at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal. Friends, fam­ily and mem­bers of the Royal Com­mon­wealth So­ci­ety of Canada gath­ered in the hospi­tal’s cafe­te­ria July 18 for the brief cer­e­mony.

Ann Ul­rick, left, De­siree Dich­mont’s niece came all the way from Lon­don, Eng­land to visit her aunt De­siree, who is a pa­tient at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal. She was among those on hand July 18 to wit­ness Dich­mont re­ceiv­ing the Queen’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Medal.

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