The British High Commission celebrated Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II’s 91st birthday on Wednesday 19 April 2017 at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom, the Empire Hotel and Country Club. The Queen’s Birthday Party reception themes this year focused on Her Majesty the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative, and the strong UK-Brunei defence ties between the British Armed Forces and Royal Brunei Armed Forces.
The Guests of Honour were Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Bahrin bin Abdullah, Minister of Development and Pengiran Datin Hajah Noorsiah binti Pengiran Hamdan. In his speech, High Commissioner H.E. David Campbell welcomed guests on the special occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s 91st birthday. He explained that the theme of the evening was inspired by the QCC initiative and the importance of Brunei’s pristine rainforest. The High Commissioner also thanked Ben Foods for their kind sponsorship.
As a gift for the Guest of Honour, the High Commissioner presented YB Dato with an award winning book of tree portraits, Meetings with Remarkable Trees by British author Thomas Pakenham. Datin received flowers and a china item from the Royal Collection.
The venue was decorated with plants and bushes to create a jungle atmosphere. As guests entered they walked through a jungle canopy created by the British Forces Brunei, showcasing the strong defence relationship between Brunei and the UK through the work that BFB do with the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. A compilation of videos and images were played screens by the entrance and inside the venue. Themes included: The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy; His Majesty The Sultan’s visit to the Garrison in Seria last month and the Regional Jungle Warfare Symposium organised in March by the RBAF and BFB, which was aimed at developing Brunei as a Centre for Excellence in Jungle Warfare. There was also a large banner showing members of the Royal British Household Cavalry hidden amongst the Brunei jungle. Guests were prompted to find them and visit The British High Commission Facebook page to check where they were hidden.
Guests viewed the QCC photography display of images kindly provided by photographers Bud Chapman, Stephen Hogg and local photographer Dilshan Mahdi Hussainmiya of three forest reserves that Brunei has committed to the QCC. The QCC is a project designed to create a network of forest conservation initiatives throughout the 52 nations of the Commonwealth to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s service as Head of the Commonwealth.
Two paintings of the Brunei jungle were also displayed to commemorate the present and the past. One was by contemporary British artist Jake Grewal, whose painting won the ‘Art for the Underground’ competition held in the UK last year. His painting of Ulu Temburong Forest Reserve was featured at King’s Cross Underground Station in London. The other painting, from artists Fionnuala Boyd and Les Evans, was completed in 1991 and provided a retrospective view of Brunei’s jungles. It was kindly loaned by HSBC Brunei for the event.