‘A day to Remember’ by Ian Cannell CBE

Ian Cannell’s title, ‘A Day to Remember,’ gave us an evening to remember. The illustrated talk centred on Ian’s award ceremony to receive the CBE was particularly appropriate with our minds still focussed on Her Majesty’s sixtieth anniversary on the throne, marked here, in Peel, by the visit of His Royal Highness, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

In a deliberately brief introduction, I referred to Ian’s work as Town Clerk for many years, commenting that the title should really be City Clerk, particularly as we have not just one cathedral bur two and his national and international role with the Royal British Legion. I could have added TT and Tynwald Day commentator and goodness knows what else!

Ian began by saying that he was born in Peel and this has always been his home. He regarded himself as part of Peel Heritage, as indeed he is. He then explained that he was going to talk about the honours system, how you get on it and referred to some of the Manx people recently honoured. His efforts to avoid an ‘ego trip’ left me feeling that I would have liked to know more about the work that had led to his award of first MBE and then CBE. He stressed that one did not use both titles, only the more senior one, commenting that despite his advice, Joey Dunlop’s memorial plaque, incorrectly, bears both! 

Anyone can send a letter recommending a person for inclusion in the honours list, setting out the reasons.  This should be accompanied by supporting letters from others and sent to the Lt Governor who chairs a small selection committee. Their recommendations are then forwarded to Downing Street and on to Her Majesty.

Ian outlined the process as far as the candidate was concerned and the arrangements for the day of investiture. At this point, we were treated to a DVD made by the palace, personalised for each recipient – a remarkable achievement in itself. It included the pomp and ceremony as well as the preparations behind the scenes, the arrival of guests and their progress through the palace, past wonderful works of art to the ballroom where the ceremony was to take place. We then saw the presentations along with comments rounding off a panoply of splendour yet, uniquely personal to each recipient. At its conclusion, our audience broke out into spontaneous applause.

After refreshments, Ian answered questions and we were able to see his awards, citations and photographs.

When it was time to make our usual small presentation to the speaker, I couldn’t resist the procedure we had just witnessed. Ian entered into this fully, bowing and shaking hands and retreating as he had before Prince Charles. A great sport rounding off a great evening with much amused applause!

Next event is Peel’s Secret Gardens on the 14th and 15th July. Admission programmes will be in the usual outlets and in the Market Place on the days.