Brian Todhunter, a member of Tuscan Oak and Lambert Head Lodge No. 6387, which meets at Pemberton Masonic Hall in Wigan has been invested with the Royal Victorian Order Medal.

Brian played a significant part in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations by leading the team of engineers which restored the Royal Yacht Royal Barge which carried the Queen and Prince Phillip as part of the Thames pageant on that very special day.

The Royal Victorian Order recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch or members of her family. Established in 1896 by Queen Victoria, the order has five hierarchical grades and one medal with three levels, each representing a different level of service.

Brian, who is a member of the Royal Yacht Association, was specially re-called and selected for the task to ensure that the barge, which had not seen service for over 15 years, was restored it to its former pristine condition. For his personal service to the sovereign he was awarded the prestigious Royal Victoria Medal (Silver) which is awarded to non-commissioned officers of HM Forces. Brian served for a period on the Royal Yacht Britannia when it was still in service.

His Royal Highness Prince Charles conducted Brian’s investiture at Buckingham Palace and during a conversation, Prince Charles recalled that using the Royal Barge and escort boats from HMY Britannia had brought back many happy memories for him, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Following his successful restoration of the Royal Barge, Brian Todhunter of Tuscan Oak and Lamberthead Lodge No. 6387 (which meets in at Pemberton Masonic Hall, Wigan) has been awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) in the Queens Jubilee Honours list.

Brian has been selected for the award following his work in organising the restoration of the Royal Yacht Britannia’s Royal barge and escort boats, which were used by Her Majesty the Queen during the Thames River Pageant.

Queen Victoria established the Royal Victorian Medal in April 1896 as a reward for personal service to the Sovereign or the Royal Family, and as a mark of royal esteem. The Medal is conferred upon civilians and non-commissioned military personnel. Although the Medal is related to the Royal Victorian Order, it differs in appearance and in the way it is worn.

The Royal Victorian Medal is awarded in silver gilt (gold), silver and bronze - in most circumstances, the Silver Medal is awarded - and recipients are permitted to use the post-nominal RVM.

Brian said that he was 'surprised, but delighted' when he was informed of the award, and he is really looking forward to receiving it at Buckingham Palace later this year.

17 September 2012 - UPDATE: It has just been announced that 'The Queen has been graciously pleased, on the ocassion of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee' to award Brian Todhunter with the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) for 'Restoration of Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia's Royal Barge and Escort Boats'.

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Brian Todhunter, a member of Tuscan Oak and Lamberthead Lodge No.6387, will be on board the Royal Yacht Britannia's tender, the Britannia Royal Barge, transporting Her Majesty The Queen to the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant this weekend.

Brian is a former Royal Navy engineer and a member of the Association of Royal Yachtsmen, having served on the Royal Yacht Britannia between 1975 and 1978.   Last November, at the Association's Annual General Meeting, he was asked to inspect the Britannia Royal Barge and an escort launch in order to get them both running. He quickly put together a team of ex-Royal Yachtsmen from the engineering branch, and, based in Leith, Scotland (Britannia's current home), they have worked tirelessly for the past seven months in order to recommission their engines and get the boats shipshape.  This has included extensive sea trials on the Firth of Forth in Force 4 winds - although he is not expecting anything quite so rough on the Thames!

The royal barge was used to transport The Queen and other members of the Royal Family to and from Britannia, until she was decommissioned in 1997.  Brian, who also served on HMS Hermes, said: “Its remarkable how well she ran after 15 years of idleness. We are all looking forward to carrying out Royal duty again - although probably for the last time”.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, who is Patron of the Pageant, and the Duchess of Cornwall, will board the Britannia Royal Barge, at Chelsea Pier.  They will then be transported some eight hundred yards downstream to Cadogan Pier, where they will disembark and board the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will join them onboard.

The Britannia Royal Barge will then proudly escort the Royal Barge at the head of this spectacular pageant until the Royal party disembarks close to Blackfriars Bridge and boards HMS President, where they will watch the pageant go by. 

The Association of Royal Yachtsmen was founded in 1989 by Albert ‘Dixie’ Deane and is dedicated to bringing together many of the estimated 1,767 ‘Yotties’ who served on-board HMY Britannia between 14 January 1954 and 11 December 1997.  HM The Queen is Patron of the Association and the Duke of Edinburgh is its President.  Its headquarters are on the Royal Yacht Britannia, where many Yotties return annually for their working party week. Throughout this sociable week the Yotties work alongside Britannia’s maintenance crew to undertake a wide range of jobs throughout their old home. They also mix with visitors, who are enthralled by their stories of the 'good old days'.

Further information on the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, which takes place on Sunday 3 June 2012, can be found on their website.

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