Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II celebrated and chatted with three winners of the Commonwealth Points of Light award, including TT turtle conservationist Len Peters, on Sunday.
The award, launched in 2018, is given to one volunteer from across the Commonwealth each week "in recognition of their outstanding initiatives in local communities and beyond."
Peters received the first-ever award in February 2018. In addition to a conservationist, he is chairman of the Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association, which protects 20,000 turtle nests annually. His work appeared on BBC’s Blue Planet 2 with British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.
The other recipients who were celebrated included Nikoletta Polydorou, a music teacher from Cyprus, and Ruy Santos from Mozambique.
According to a Royal Communications release, the queen said, “Thank you all for taking part in this programme. I’m delighted to have heard your stories and I think it’s wonderful work that you’re all doing, and volunteering so much. Thank you very much.”
She spoke to all the awardees, who were also allowed to discuss the impact of their initiatives in their local communities.
Peters said, “Here you have a young boy from a turtle-eating family wanting to make a difference.
"At night, we would walk the beach back and forth protecting the turtle to try to convince people that it was the right thing to do. What we didn’t know (was) that 30 years later that effort would see TT being recognised as one of the most important nesting sites for the leatherback sea turtles in the world.”
Polydorou's initiative, Sistema Cyprus, focuses on "transforming the lives of children and young people from challenged communities by providing free music education and instruments."
It has its own children’s orchestra and choir and collaborates with three Cypriot universities to provide academic scholarship opportunities.
The release said 45 children performed "a piece of music in celebration of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s recent 73rd wedding anniversary," including a never-before-heard piece – Modus Cyprius – due to be premièred to the public next week.
Santos founded his initiative, Makobo, in 2009, which the release described as "a collaborative working space to promote nutrition, education and youth employment," of which the Queen had her first virtual tour.
The release said, "The space includes a soup kitchen, which during the pandemic fed 6,000 people daily, including lunch boxes to support local school children. In response to covid19, the organisation also began working with 15 local dressmakers, producing over 6,000 masks for underprivileged communities, hospitals and charity workers."