The Falkland Islands Government and people have paid special tribute to their former Governor, Sir Rex Hunt, to celebrate his eightieth birthday later this month, twenty four years after he courageously led the Islanders during the 1982 Argentine invasion.
The British Prime Minister of that time, Margaret Thatcher, was the surprise guest at a birthday reception held (on Wednesday, June 14th) at the Falkland Islands Government Office by the Islands' Representative in London, Miss Sukey Cameron.
It was the second successive day that Baroness Thatcher had attended receptions to demonstrate publicly her continued support for the Falkland Islands.
Sir Rex, accompanied by Lady Hunt, was delighted and surprised to receive several unique birthday gifts from the Falklands Government and from the people of the Islands presented to him by Councillor Michael Summers, reminding him of his historic tenure as Governor.
He received a beautiful wooden tray depicting a painting of Government House in Stanley and a set of dinner place mats showing pictures in and around Government House.
He was intrigued and filled with pleasure with a presentation book of Falklands' photographs and personal messages from his friends in all parts of the Islands, reflecting the respect and affection in which he and Lady Hunt are widely held.
He was also presented with a painting, commissioned by Mr David Tatham, another former Governor, representing the Falkland Islands Association and Shackleton Scholarship Committee, in both of which organisations he succeeded Sir Rex Hunt as chairman.
It was the late Lord Shackleton whose reports before and after 1982 laid the foundation for Falkland Islands economic prosperity and social reform, which Sir Rex started to implement in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.
Sir Rex made a short speech of thanks, particularly welcoming Baroness Thatcher, as he remarked that he had previously attended her birthday celebration when she was eighty. The birthday reception was attended by close friends and former colleagues of Sir Rex and Lady Hunt, including several Islanders.
Councillor Summers spent considerable time briefing Lady Thatcher on Falklands' developments as he had done the previous evening at the annual reception at Lincoln's Inn Fields in central London commemorating the recovery of the Islands by British armed forces in June 1982. Lady Thatcher also spoke to many other Islanders and supporters.
Harold Briley, London