Activist who was informed that he had won an award from Queen Elizabeth, thought it was a prank

Activist Mark Galea Pace has just received international recognition for his environmental work.

He was awarded the prize by Queen Elizabeth for his voluntary initiative to clean up the waste which is dumped illegally in Malta.

In an unexpected phone call, Mark Galea Pace received an honour he had never imagined he would ever get in his lifetime.

“The person on the phone told me, ‘This is from the British High Commission, you have won an award from her Majesty the Queen from Buckingham Palace, and I said, ‘Who are you? Oh come on!” and he said, “No, no, you are the winner, the nominated’. And I asked him. ‘So when will you choose the winner?’ And he replied, ‘No, haven’t you understood? You are the winner!’, and I teared up because I felt so honoured.”

The honour which Galea Pace won forms part of the Points of Light which gives recognition to volunteers for the change they are making in their community. A few weeks ago, this newsroom met with Mark Galea Pace during one of his clean up activities at a bay in the North of Malta as part of a ten-week campaign.

He spent 120 hours and in ten weeks collected around 8,000 kilos of plastic, and said that he intends to continue in the weeks to come.

“I will now evaluate everything, and discuss it over with certain people as to whether I can receive some form of assistance, because it costs a lot of money. If I do something I wish to do it better and bigger and remind everyone, especially young people, that it is cool to keep everywhere clean.”

Points of Light is voluntary organisation based in. the US which in the past has awarded such people as Captain Sir Thomas Moore from the UK at the age of 99 for collecting £32 million during the pandemic by walking with his walker for miles in his own garden before celebrating his 100th birthday. Swimmer Neil Agius was also awarded with the same prize.