The Gibraltar Heritage Trust has officially reopened Witham’s Cemetery to the public following the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by the Hon Dr. John Cortes, Minister for Heritage.
The project to restore and recover the cemetery from the point of dereliction began in 2015 and has taken 6 years of hard work and dedication from a team of volunteers led by Trustees Dr. Keith Farrell and Mr. Charlie Lugaro.
Over 16 regular volunteers have been involved throughout the project as well as occasional work parties from local firms or interest groups. Together, their formidable efforts have recovered this green space and given a dignified and respectful resting place for the over 233 individuals buried there.
Witham’s Cemetery, also known as The Officer’s Cemetery and Sandpits Cemetery, is located between Knight’s Court and St John’s Court in the south district (Witham’s Road/St. Joseph’s Road). Named after Captain Witham, an 18th Century British Officer who was involved in the Great Siege of Gibraltar, this cemetery is primarily the resting place for officers and their families, as well as members of the establishment of the time.
Although these burials date from the late 18th to early 20th Century, the majority of burials found here are from the first to the third quarter of the 19th Century. It is estimated that over 20% of the graves here are that of children. This high child mortality rate, low-life expectancy was typical of the period.
Queen’s Birthday Honours
Her Majesty The Queen has granted the following National Honours:
Mr Kishinchand Ladharam Alwani to be an Officer of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to philanthropic and charitable work in Gibraltar.
Mr Gregory Miles Standish Butcher to be an Officer of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the economy and charitable work in Gibraltar.
Major Frederick John Pitto to be a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Headquarters British Forces Gibraltar.
Mrs Susan Vallejo to be a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to leadership in healthcare in Gibraltar during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On behalf of the Gibraltar Honours Board, His Excellency the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL, has granted the Gibraltar Award to:
Mr Norbert Sene for services to the Catholic Community in Gibraltar.
Mr Matthew Turnock for services to the Disabled Community in Gibraltar.
The Deputy Chief Minister, the Hon Dr Joseph Garcia CMG MP, opened an exhibition to mark the Platinum
Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The exhibition follows the excellent celebrations which have taken place across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and Gibraltar over the long weekend and comes before the Royal Visit which starts tomorrow. It has been expertly curated by the archivist, Anthony Pitaluga MBE.
On display at the exhibition will be 303 captioned images, on 202 A1 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) panels. The exhibition comprises four main sections entitled Heiress Presumptive, Accession & Coronation, Royal Tour & Gibraltar Visit, and Seventy Years of Reign. Entry is free of charge and members of the public are strongly encouraged to attend.
The Deputy Chief Minister, the Hon Dr Joseph Garcia CMG MP, said, “The link between the People of Gibraltar and their Sovereign is solid and unbreakable; as solid as the Rock itself. Her Majesty The Queen is Queen of Gibraltar also and so the Government felt it was right to open this exhibition as a tribute to Her Majesty on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee.
This is a truly historic and unprecedented occasion. No other British Monarch has ever reigned for 70 years. Her Majesty’s loyalty and devotion to duty has been exemplary and long may she continue to reign over us.”