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Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Tuesday, 17 August 2010 14:13 UK
Tributes payed to Guernsey French icon
Marie De Garis
Mrs de Garis lived in St Pierre du Bois for almost her entire life

Marie de Garis, MBE, was born on 15 June 1910 and dedicated much of her life to promoting Guernsey's culture.

She lived all her life, except the five years of the Second World War, in St Pierre Du Bois and it was there she wrote the Guernsey French dictionary.

As well as the dictionary she compiled a book of island folklore and worked with many local cultural organisations.

She died in August 2010 and was hailed as "one of the most important figures for Guernsey's language and culture".

Bill Gallienne was working on a new edition of the Guernsey French dictionary with one of Mrs de Garis' three sons when she died and he said he was "very, very sad" at hearing the news.

He described the original dictionary as "an amazing feat" compiled on index cards in the days long before personal computers and said that as well as detailing the language it contained information about Guernsey culture. Bill said: "What she did was save the language and the culture of Guernsey because both go together."

Though she was 100 years old Bill said "her mind was bright as a button" as she assisted with the compilation of the new dictionary and he said: "It's one of the most important books in the island for our language and culture."

He added that they would "push on" with completing the new edition.

In her time Mrs de Garis was president of La Société Guernesiaise and L'Assembllaie d'Guernesiais, both of which work to promote Guernsey's culture, history and language, something for which Cynthia Lenormand, BBC Guernsey's Guernsey French news reader and L'Assembllaie member, said Mrs de Garis was passionate about.

Cynthia said the dictionary is what Mrs de Garis will be remembered for and added, "she was always happy to talk to people in Guernsey French, young or old," to try and spread the language and she was always adding new words to her dictionary as she heard them.

100 years in St Pierre Du Bois

Marguerite Talmage from Floral St Peters said that the group had recently decided to name the parishes' community garden in Mrs de Garis' honour and were very sorry she would not be there to see the final result, but she added that they had told Mrs de Garis of their plan: "She was very pleased we were going to name the garden after her."

"She's been such a special person," Marguerite added. "She's done so much for the island, not just the parish where she's lived, it's such a sad loss, she's given so much to the island.

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SEE ALSO
Guernsey language stalwart dies
11 Aug 10 |  Guernsey
Guernsey French promoter is 100
15 Jun 10 |  Arts & Culture
Rewriting Guernsey's dictionary
17 Jun 10 |  Arts & Culture

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