Ged Blackmore to receive Order of Newfoundland and Labrador

Staff ~ The Western Star cnoseworthy@thewesternstar.com
Published on December 1, 2009

Corner Brook -

Two folks with ties to western Newfoundland are among nine individuals who will be inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador later this month.

Established in 2004, the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador is the highest honour of the province, and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour benefiting in an outstanding manner Newfoundland and Labrador and its residents.

Ged Blackmore, who retired as the longest-serving principal of Regina High School in Corner Brook in 1988, but is best-known for his contribution to the provincial arts community, is joined on the list by Gladys Osmond of Springdale, who has been writing to Canadian Forces soldiers for more than 20 years.

Blackmore, who is a native of Grand Falls-Windsor, wrote and directed a number of original musicals for Regina High School students to perform during his time at the Corner Brook high school. He returned to Corner Brook in 1998 to compose the script, music and lyrics for "From Birth to Awakening," the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1999 Canada Winter Games hosted by Corner Brook.

He was subsequently asked to work as creative consultant for the 2001 Canada Summer Games in London, Ont., where he created the script and lyrics for the opening ceremonies titled "Land of Lakes and Rivers: The Place Where Water Brings Life."

In 1993, between his days as a principal and the Canada Games work, Blackmore founded and directed Folk of the Sea, a choral group made up of fishermen and women affected by the 1992 cod moratorium.

In 2002, Blackmore became musical director of the Stephenville Theatre Festival. Earlier this year, his musical history of Grand Falls-Windsor, called "Out of the Forest," was staged.

Osmond's countless letters to "Any Canadian Soldier," meanwhile, have provided the comfort of home to thousands of members of the Canadian Forces for more than two decades. Mailing letters by the bundle from her home in Springdale, her dedication has ensured that, wherever Canada's soldiers are in the world, they are in her thoughts and heart.

The other recipients who will receive their honours from Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie during an investiture at Government House in St. John's on Dec. 11, include Donna J. Butt; Jon Lien; Hazel R. Newhook; John C. Perlin; Margaret Pike and Geoff Stirling. Alan Perry will be inducted as an honorary member of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, which is presented to individuals who are not Canadian citizens.

"These women and men exemplify the intent of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, our province's highest honour," said Crosbie. "Through their passion and commitment in all of their endeavours, they have made a lasting contribution to our province and our people. They are truly outstanding individuals and I look forward to recognizing them with the order."

Any person or group may nominate an individual for consideration by the independent Order of Newfoundland and Labrador Advisory Council. Nominations for the next induction into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador may be made until Jan. 31, 2010. For more information, visit www.gov.nl.ca/onl.