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On behalf of the United Kingdom, I am honoured to be able to share this day with you, to celebrate and commemorate the life of Ratu Manasa Talakuli. I extend my condolences to his family, but we must celebrate this very special life. Ratu Manasa, Major Manasa, was a very distinguished man, one of that brave band of 212 Fijians who enlisted in the British Army back in 1961, blazing a trail for so many since. He went on to serve the Crown for an extraordinary 31 years, giving us in effect almost half his life, for which we are forever grateful. He served in many places, including Germany, Singapore, Northern Ireland, Brunei, a truly rich and varied experience. He reached the rank of Major, which represents a very special achievement, and he made a valued contribution to every unit in which he served.
Not content with an exemplary military career, he then went on to University to study law, and attained a Masters Degree. And later in life he supported his wife when she served as Fiji’s High Commissioner to Malaysia. None of these things can have been easy, but he was not a man to choose the easy path.
Ratu Manassa was an outstanding leader, in the British Army, and in his community. He led by example, showing us how much one man can achieve. His was a long life, a life rich in experiences. A life well lived, for which we give thanks. May he Rest In Peace.