Queen of England honors area resident
Published: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at 11:53 p.m.
Geoffrey Moore was hoping the Queen of England was honoring him for his rugby prowess, but, alas, it is only because he runs a highly successful arts festival that lures Bolshoi Ballet dancers, Chinese acrobats, opera divas and other top performers to Bermuda.
Still, it's a chance to meet Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace, and the Gainesville resident will not pass it up.
"I was surprised and delighted that the queen, in her New Year's honors list, included me and made me an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or OBE," Moore said. "It's a chivalry order established in 1917 by George V. The queen appointed me an officer on the advice of Bermuda and the British government for service to the arts."
By profession Moore was a chartered accountant. But his enthusiasm for the arts landed him the chairmanship of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, which regularly draws premier talent to the island every January and February.
Moore is British by birth with Bermuda citizenship and has permanent resident status in the United States. He played on the Bermuda national rugby team. He retired here thanks to his wife, Ann, a Gainesville native.
Britain has a system of various honors to recognize the accomplishments of people as diverse as rock stars, doctors and social workers.
Most are British, but others are occasionally honored - Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are a few recent Americans.
Moore's connections with the Bermuda arts festival are paying off here. He will become president of the University of Florida Performing Arts Board of Directors later this year.
UF Performing Arts Director Michael Blachly said Moore is a valuable addition to the community. Blachly and Moore have worked to bring performers such as the Soweto Gospel Choir to both the Bermuda festival and UF's Phillips Center.
"He is a wonderful asset. He is very active member of our board of directors. He is a very solid contributor with great ideas," Blachly said. "We are doing some things together. It has proven to be a very, very good relationship."
Moore said the latest batch of honorees will have a choice of several dates on which to receive their award from Queen Elizabeth.
"I haven't met her personally. I'm looking forward to it," he said. "It's quite a ceremony. It's really enjoyable."
Cindy Swirko can be reached at (352) 374-5024 or email@example.com
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