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February 6, 2012
For immediate release

First Diamond Jubilee Medals Presented

Lieutenant Governor's Office

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His Honour The Honourable H. Frank Lewis, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, today awarded Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Medals to six worthy Islanders. The ceremony at Government House, with Fred Hyndman, C.M. as master of ceremonies, included guests of the recipients and reading of citations for each medal recipient before His Honour affixed the medal and presented a certificate.

“I am so pleased and honoured, on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to present medals, the first in Prince Edward Island, to six individuals who represent the rich community mindedness, talent and excellence that pervades our province,” said His Honour.

“Her Majesty is a remarkable lady, and sovereign. As of today, she is 60 years on the throne of the British Empire and Queen of Canada,” added His Honour. “The Queen is respected and admired around the world and I believe Canada has a special place in the heart and mind of Her Majesty, as Canada has for her.”

“To reflect and honour this relationship, Canada requested and received permission from Her Majesty to strike and award these handsome medals to community people across our nation. I am delighted to announce our worthy inaugural recipients.”

• Jeannita Bernard, St. Philippe

• Wendell Ellis, Summerside

• Betty King Howatt, Tyron

• Mary MacQueen Elliott, Lower Montague

• Scott Parsons, Charlottetown

• Erskine Smith, Victoria-by-the-Sea

“Each of our recipients has a special story in the enrichment of our communities and society. As we honour them today, we celebrate for them and for ourselves. We can all be proud of what they have given and achieved,” concluded His Honour who also thanked the special selection committee for their time and the wonderful outcome of their deliberations.


Description of the Medal

The medal has on the obverse a crowned image of the Sovereign, in whose name the medal is bestowed. The reverse marks the sixtieth, or diamond, anniversary of the accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The anniversary is expressed by the central diamond shape, by the background composed of a pattern of diamonds, and by the two dates. The Royal Cypher consists of the Royal Crown above the letters EIIR (i.e., Elizabeth II Regina, the latter word meaning Queen in Latin). The maple leaves refer to Canada, while the motto VIVAT REGINA means “Long live The Queen!”

The ribbon uses a new arrangement of the blue, red and white colours found in the 1953 Coronation Medal, the 1977 Silver Jubilee Medal, and the 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal.

Wording on the Accompanying Certificate

The certificates accompanying the medal read, “By Command of her Majesty The Queen, the Diamond Jubilee Medal is presented to you in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty’s Accession to the Throne and in recognition of your contributions to Canada.”

Selection Process

His Honour convened a special committee to select six recipients from across Prince Edward Island to represent both the depth of service that individuals give to Canada and the diversity of skills and talents in P.E.I.


Jeannita Bernard has dedicated her life improving healthcare services in Prince Edward Island. Bernard has spent more than 30 years serving Island residents, developing and implementing new programming for health and senior care. She served as the CEO of West Prince Health, where she oversaw the restructuring of health and social services under a single delivery model, and in a national capacity as the director of Health Promotion and Education for Veteran’s Affairs Canada.

Jeannita Bernard is equally committed to improving education, having worked as an instructor for the Practical Nursing Program at Holland College, and as president of the College Acadie Î.-P.-É. Dedicated to her community, Bernard has served on a variety of boards, including the Vanier Institute of the Family, the Canada Winter Games and l’Association Touristique Évangéline.

Wendell Ellis is a true ambassador of Prince Edward Island who spent more than three decades bringing the stories of Islanders to the television screen.

Spearheading Community Showcase, he both introduced viewers across the Island to the many wonders of our province and fostered a sense of collective pride in our home.

Programs were an eclectic mix. He and his crew of writers and photographers would visit homes, businesses, parks and events to film the varied happenings and personalities. The result was entertaining and educational footage for everyone. Mr. Ellis produced many award-winning programs until his retirement in 2009.

In awarding the Chamber of Commerce President’s Award, it was noted that he had the ability to rally the entire province behind an idea. Wendell Ellis’ favorite sayings include, “Why don’t we…Let’s try it… and Let’s see who else we can get involved.” As a colleague has said, “If we didn’t have people like him in this country, this country would not be what it is. He is a great Canadian.”

He is also an avid gardener and an award-winning photographer.

Mary MacQueen Elliott was born in Wood Islands. She moved to Ontario with her family at age 5 and then to Alberta before returning home to P.E.I. in 2002.

Mary MacQueen Elliott had an extensive list of community work and service in her years away. Her work with young adults with barriers in their lives as well as facilitating spiritual retreats is a hallmark of her life.

She joined the Board of the Southern Kings and Queens Chamber of Commerce, chairing the 2004 Atlantic Chambers AGM and conference.

Mary’s volunteer work includes acting as treasurer for the heralded Murray River Ceilidh Committee which has raised $270,000 to date for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; aiding benefits for persons in need and other community Ceilidhs; acting as liaison with the local Tourism Association, Lower Montague Community Council and more.

In 2011, she joined the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead as their site manager and volunteer with results that lived up to her reputation.

Betty Howatt is a champion of Prince Edward Island’s environmental and agricultural heritage. She has spent more than 50 years working with her husband on the family fruit and vegetable farm in Tryon, promoting environmental stewardship and the importance of farming to the Island’s economy and way of life.

An active public speaker and volunteer, Betty Howatt has served with many local and national organizations, including the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation and the advisory board to the Canadian Military Colleges.

She is also a well-known Island storyteller, a regular contributor to CBC radio, and the author of Tales from Willowshade Farm.

Scott Parsons is a gifted Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter whose talents have taken him to countries around the world.

A multi-award winning artist, Scott Parsons has been recognized by the East Coast Music Association and Music P.E.I. for his unique and versatile and expressive musicianship.

Mr. Parsons has a strong commitment to helping others through his music. His song, What I Am, was used as the theme song for the United Nation’s International Convention for the Rights of Children in 1993. He often lends his musical talents to local fundraising efforts and hosts music workshops for Aboriginal youth. His work with the P.E.I. Council for People with Disabilities to deliver an employment and life skills program garnered an award for Most Innovative Youth Program in Canada in 2011.

Erskine Smith is a celebrated contributor to Prince Edward Island’s theatre scene. As artistic director for the Victoria Playhouse since its inception 31 years ago, Erskine Smith has acted in, directed and written a variety of well-received performances. In 2010, the theatre received the Tourism Association of Prince Edward Island’s President’s Award for its contribution to tourism on the Island.

An acclaimed storyteller, Mr. Smith has toured various Maritime theatres and festivals, and performed for CBC nationally.

Erskine Smith has served his community and province in a variety of roles, including as municipal councilor, instructor at the Seniors’ College, and with the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island, the East Coast Music Association and the Rural Beautification Society.

Media Contact: Cindy Cheverie
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