Queen Elizabeth recognises Victorin Laboudallon with Commonwealth Points of Light award |23 November 2019
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has yesterday recognised Victorin Laboudallon, representing Seychelles, as the 118th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of his exceptional voluntary service championing conservation in Seychelles.
Outside of his professional career in conservation, Mr Laboudallon is also the founder of Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of Seychelles (Trass) which has mobilised thousands of volunteers to repopulate Praslin with an average of 15,000 plants every year. Trass is known for its regular tree-planting events to combat deforestation on the island, and planting mangroves which are a natural defence against the impacts of rising seas and coastal erosion.
Mr Laboudallon has also led campaigns to conserve the native coco de mer tree and spearheaded a nest-boxing programme for the Seychelles’ national bird, the endangered black parrot.
As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen – as Head of the Commonwealth – is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit.
By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.
Each Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.
Mr Laboudallon received his award yesterday from Patrick Lynch, British high commissioner to Seychelles.
Mr Laboudallon said: "All my life, I have dreamt of protecting and defending the environment of Seychelles. In my retirement, I chose to be active and ensuring that the next generation gets a world better than the one they see today. Planting trees through Trass is a life-long dream and I am proud to pass on my knowledge to the next generations. Nothing makes me happier than dedicating my otherwise idle mornings and afternoons and my Saturdays to planting trees! I am very happy to receive this award on behalf of all the volunteers of Trass, colleagues and more so, the people of Seychelles. In the face of climate change, plastic pollution and other issues affecting our planet, this award gives us as a nation and me, as a person, the impetus to continue beyond 100,000 trees!"
As for British high commissioner to Seychelles Patrick Lynch, he said:"We are thrilled that Victorin’s achievements have been recognised with the Commonwealth Points of Light Award. He is an incredibly worthwhile recipient and has been an inspiration to generations of Seychellois conservationists. His work, both professional and voluntary, has helped shape the way we understand the flora and fauna in Seychelles and this award commends his tireless efforts. I am sure I speak for many people when I thank Victorin for his dedication to the environment and protecting these very special islands."
The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 53 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 53 member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people. Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.
Contributed by the British high commission in Seychelles