MBE recipient Giorgio Zanol said he is 'ecstatic' to receive the honour. *Photo supplied
MBE recipient Giorgio Zanol said he is 'ecstatic' to receive the honour. *Photo supplied
SUNDAY, DEC. 30: MBE recipient Giorgio Zanol was 'almost speechless' when Governor George Fergusson called him at work to tell him he had been chosen to receive the honour.

The popular charity worker and boss of the Lindo's supermarket chain told the Bermuda Sun he was 'ecstatic' to be named in the Queen's New Years Honour's List.

Mr Zanol, who received the award for his charitable contributions and advocacy in the community,  added: "I did not expect anything like this.

"About four-and-a-half weeks ago I got a call from the Governor's private secretary while I was at work.

"She told me the Governor wanted to speak to me and he came onto the phone.

"Mr Fergusson told me Buckingham Palace had asked him to inform me that I had been chosen to receive a MBE.

"I was almost speechless. It is a huge honour and such a big surprise.

"But the hard part was keeping it a secret from all my friends and family, especially my wife, as I was not allowed to tell anyone until midnight, English time, on December 29."

Mr Zanol did not tell anyone about the honour until Friday evening, when he went home from work early to tell his wife.

The Italian national, who came to Bermuda in the mid 1960's, said: "I waited until a few seconds passed 8pm and then I told my wife I had to tell her something.

"When I told her that I had been chosen to receive an MBE she jumped up and started crying."

The marathon man now plans to travel to England in the New Year with his family to receive the honour in person from the Queen.

He added: "At the moment I do not know a lot about what exactly this award means and the history that lies behind it.

"I plan to learn more about the MBE over the next few days and I am sure it will sink in more when I do that.

"All the things I do for charity I do because I love doing them. I certainly did not expect anything like this to happen.

"It was a big surprise and I feel very happy and very fortunate.

"For now I will celebrate with my friends and family with lobsters and champagne!"