It is not often that a locally born person receives a knighthood but Sir Bruce Joshua Saunders OBE KBE may be making history by doing just that.
Sir Bruce and twin Tony (now living in Pt Germein) were born in Pt Pirie in 1941.
Their parents spent the boys early years here where their father, Ted, was Principal of Pirie Blocks School for many years.
Recently Tony, Bruce, and Graham, an older brother who lives in the UK, had a nostalgic reunion here; Bruce travelled here from Solomon Islands and Graham from the UK where he was formerly a lecturer in History at Hull University.
Tony and his wife Marie- Claire now live in Pt Germein after many years living and working overseas but most recently in the Solomon Islands.
As for Bruce, he has spent the last 40 years living and working in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara and received his Knighthood during the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours Awards on the recommendation of the Solomon Islands Government.
A recipient of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003, Sir Bruce has recently been in
the forefront of a project to build a monument honouring Solomon Island wartime heroes, an initiative widely seen as contributing to unity in the country by reinforcing pride in national identity among schoolchildren and other citizens.
“There had been monuments to the allies and the Japanese but none to the Solomon Islanders, whose exploits were fundamental to the survival and victory of the US Marines and Allied soldiers during the battle for Guadalcanal, which was the turning point of the war in the South Pacific,” Sir Bruce said.
Sir Bruce was also prominent in establishing a civil society network in the Solomons in 2000 during the years of unrest following a coup, which had led to the disintegration of public institutions.
The civil society initiative led to the empowerment of Solomon Island men and women to participate in the restoration of peace and order to the country.
He has been Vice-Chairman of the Honiara Chamber of Commerce, a foundation member of the Lions Cub, a board member of the Rotary Club of Honiara and is a member of the Baha’i commu-
His BJS group of companies has long been a major employer in the Solomons.
Active in promoting education, Sir Bruce has also arranged for the Rotary four-way test to be introduced into schools to provide guidance for
personal behaviour and social development.
During his visit to Pt Pirie Bruce commented that he still had a wonderful love of the landscape and colour of this region and being here again brought back a lot of those early memories.