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Diana Whittaker, Cert. Hon.

Diana Whittaker, Cert. Hon.

Diana Cynthia Whittaker, Certificate and Badge of Honour

Mrs Diana Cynthia Whittaker has been awarded the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour for services to her community. Generations of residents throughout the Cayman Islands have come face-to-face with "Ms Diana" and those who do rarely forget her warm smile, caring hands and optimistic attitude.

Mrs Whittaker's willingness to assist others goes back to an era when group survival depended on many helping hands. Her regional heritage also reflects Cayman's traditional links: while her mother, Christobel Carter, was Caymanian, her father, Sefred Brown, was from Jamaica. Ms Diana herself was born in the Honduran capital and raised in the coastal Bay Islands.

As a young lady she first visited Cayman by boat in 1950 and returned here to live with an aunt four years later. She soon married, and in a move uncommon in those early years, she worked outside the home to help make ends meet. Ms Diana's community became so much richer as a result.

Still living the wholesome life she champions, Mrs Whittaker takes pride in her 52 years of marriage to husband Willard Whittaker and she also delights in their two children and many grand- and great-grandchildren.

Over the decades Ms Diana has been employed in a succession of family-owned businesses. She also worked in the high school's canteen for some years and even today, when she encounters past students, she is usually recognized and respected for the matronly advice she still offers. "I always try to speak to them, and some do listen. My faith hasn't changed, and I still care about them all," she says.

"Some don't believe my age, but I'm 70 now and not ashamed to say so, for I give God thanks for everything!" She remains inspired by her favourite scripture (Psalms 121: "I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help"), but she also advocates sharing the burdens of others, lightening their loads and lifting their spirits.

But perhaps the role for which she is best known is that of cornerstone of the Church of God Chapel in Bodden Town. Still serving as Sunday school superintendent after more than a decade and having previously taught Sunday school classes for many years, she says that her faith has grown alongside the church.

And today her daily routines also keep her busy, reflecting tasks she has carried out for years to benefit those in her community. Often seen transporting children and adults to and from worship, other roles include assisting both pastors and parishioners.

Stating the obvious, she declares, "I really enjoy helping people" and such is her dedication, Mrs Whittaker continues to shelve many of her own interests in favour of serving others. For example, while she enjoys sewing, she now finds herself too busy for that hobby.

Never one to turn a person down, she especially enjoys "saving others time and stress - that always makes me feel like I'm really doing something worthwhile" - and since 1989, her activities have even included providing part-time administrative support for her son's architectural business.

Appreciative of being recognized with the Certificate and Badge of Honour, Ms Diana none-the-less asserts that her community work has never been to gain accolades or rewards. And who could doubt her noble intentions? While stalwarts of her generation are often taken for granted, there are those like Mrs Diana Cynthia Whittaker who continue to symbolize the core concepts treasured in these Islands - heartfelt perseverance combined with a cheerful disposition.

For further information contact: Lennon Christian