It will be a sad occasion when Gillian Brion, the British Vice Consul to the Balearics, retires later this year. Thankfully, her hard work has been rewarded with an MBE in the New Year Honours, which she richly deserves. Gillian is one of those people who works behind the scenes; she hates the limelight but you can safely say that she has been involved in the majority of the cases which have crossed the desks of the British Consulate in Palma. Last November, I attended a press conference in Palmanova which was given by the area’s hoteliers. They had special praise for the British Consulate for all its help and co-operation and I instantly thought of Gillian. It was Gillian who worked long and hard to get British police officers to Magalluf and it was Gillian who was the star of the show of a British television report on the work of the British Consulate. This programme brought all her hard work to the forefront. Gillian is also one of the most modest people I have ever met. The re-organisation of the Consular service in Spain, which meant that the islands no longer had a full blown Consul, was quite a challenge and I must admit I had serious doubts if it would work. But Gillian, who became the senior Foreign Office official on the islands, made it happen and the new system, under which the Consul General in Barcelona has control over the Balearics, has proved successful. Well done Gillian, enjoy your MBE and of course your retirement when it arrives.

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