Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Wintry weather

What a weekend we had! Atrocious weather that brought a real bite of winter and not a few falling trees to the Parish. Fortunately, St Saviour was not too badly hit and I was delighted to hear that the Parish and the Honorary Police did their bit to clear the roads quickly and help parishioners in their homes. Well done, everyone.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

St Saviour's Twinning Association

Today was a miserably wintry day, but about 50 parishioners met at the Bistro Rocque for a splendid lunch and a chance to talk about St Saviour's Twinning Association. There was a great atmosphere, plenty of chat and laughter and I hope everyone really enjoyed themselves. My congratulations to the committee for yet another successful event. Next year, St Saviour will have been twinned with Villedieu-Les-Poeles, in Normandy, for 25 years, and we will also host the Jersey Normandie Association Jeux Intervilles, the Fun and Games in which all the Island's parishes and their twin towns participate. As the games are only held every other year, it will be many years before our turn comes round again and we want it to be a marvellous weekend. I was delighted to see so many new faces at the lunch and hope that all our new members will enjoy their experience of twinning events here and at Villedieu. Bob Olliver is the man to contact if you want to know more about our twinning association and perhaps join us. He can be contacted on 735864 or by email at

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Parish news and views

We have been so busy since our return from Canada that I have not updated this blog. My apologies for that and I shall try to do better in future.

Remembrance Sunday was a very special day this year. The 11th day of the 11th month fell on the Sunday and Rev Dr Anthony Swindell included the dedication of our new Parish Memorial in the short service at 11 am. A contingent of our scouts were present and planted their crosses and poppies in the new turf around the cross. We were lucky with the weather which, though chilly, was dry and bright.
It is a fine memorial to the fallen. The original plaque has been set in the wall below the Parish Hall and the new plinth states simply that "For your tomorrows we gave our today". The old flagpole with its cross trees has gone and has been replaced by two single flag posts, one one each side and, without the hedge that masked so much of the front of the Parish Hall, it really is a fine sight as you approach.

The little woodland below the Parish Hall is really showing the benefit of the efforts made by the team of volunteers, led by the indefatigable Mike Stentiford, who went down on Saturday, 17th November with some of our parishioners and Garden Festival Committee to clear logs and brushwood for this Woodland Regeneration Project. It has already made a difference and we are hoping to organise another effort before Christmas so the ground can be rotavated ready for seeding and planting. I would like to see many more parishioners joining in such a worthwhile Parish effort that just requires a pair of wellies, a pair of gloves and a couple of hours of your time.

On the subject of planting, my thanks to two of our parishioners who have bought trees which they planted in Patier Park on Thursday. The ground was prepared by Graham Langlois, our Floral Co-ordinator and I was delighted to meet the two donors and see them plant their trees. This is a wonderful way to commemorate or celebrate a particular event or person for many years to come.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A warm welcome in our Parish Church

Our Rector, the Rev Dr Anthony Swindell, arranged a special service on Sunday, 16th September, in our Parish Church to include inauguration prayers to support me at the beginning of my term of office. This was much appreciated by me, and by Elaine, who is gradually taking up her own role as Connétable's wife. At the moment of sharing "The Peace" I did try to shake hands with as many people as I could, and hope I did not miss out anyone. During the last month, when Elaine and I had expected to be fighting an election, we had a quieter time of it and I was able to take up the reins more gradually than I had expected. Now, however, work begins in earnest and we were grateful to be surrounded by so many friends and experience their support and encouragement in a beautiful service and to join them in the Armoury for coffee afterwards. Our warmest thanks go to Dr Swindell for his thoughtfulness.

Bringing harvest home in Georgetown

At the annual Harvest Festival at Georgetown Methodist Church, last Sunday, Elaine and I were warmly welcomed and made to feel very much at home. We were invited by the Rev Chris White and soon learnt how to say "Amen" in signing by touching left thumb with right forefinger for "A" and then both fists together to complete the word. We were intrigued to meet Pat Bougeard who is very involved in extending the church's welcome to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. We also learnt some Swahili: "Hello" or "Jambo", with a picture of our own Jambo the gorilla flashed up on the wall; and "Asante, sana", or "Thank you very much" which was then brought into the prayers.
Projecting the words of the hymns on to the wall got all our heads up, with no riffling through hymn books, and all the children agog at what was going to appear next.
Ed Le Quesne, of the Jersey-Kenya 2007 group, brought us up to date on the latest work done in co-operation with local people on the medical centre which serves some 25,000 people around Ombeyi near Kisumu on Lake Victoria, Western Kenya, a project supported by the Georgetown Methodist Church.
We very much enjoyed meeting all the congregation afterwards and particularly noted (and tasted) the delicious fresh fruit on offer instead of biscuits and presented in bite-size chunks to tempt adults and children alike.

Monday, 24 September 2007

A day of sadness and pride for St Saviour

The funeral of my predecessor as Connétable, Philip Ozouf, on Thursday, 20th September, was an occasion of sadness and great pride. Sadness that the Parish and Island had lost a great character; one of the old school of Connétables, who had devoted himself to his parish for nearly 60 years. I shall miss his encylopaedic knowledge of St Saviour. But it was also an occasion of great pride to see the representation of the municipality of the Parish in St Thomas's Church and our Honorary Police work together in cooperation with the Honorary Police of St Helier, to see that the old Connétable was conveyed to his last resting place in a fitting way. The sunshine gleamed in the polished sides of his old Jersey vanne and on the coats of the handsome pair of greys that pulled it, with his coffin draped in the St Saviour flag and bearing the chain of office of Connétable on its top.
His is a record of service which is unlikely to be surpassed.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Death of former Connétable Philip Ozouf

It was with great sadness that Elaine and I heard the news that our old Connétable, Philip Ozouf, died this morning. He had been in ill health for some time and it is a measure of the man that although his strength was failing he was still able to summon his inner resources to preside at the Nominations Meeting where I was elected to take his role as Father of the Parish. He was present for the last sitting of the States and the thunderous drumming of feet on the floor of that august chamber...the traditional method to show approbation...showed how respected he was as a States Member, although he would have been the first to admit that his heart was always in the Parish of St Saviour. Although he was in the event not well enough to attend my swearing-in at the Royal Court, we visited him at his Highstead home afterwards and found him frail and tired but alert and interested in all that was going on in the Parish and in the States. His will be big shoes to step into: his 59 years of service to his Parish are unlikely to be bettered and his depth of knowledge about his home parish will be sorely missed. He was a kind and caring man who certainly did not suffer fools gladly and his death is a loss not just to his family but to his larger parish family.
The brave St Saviour flag that always flew from the Highstead flagpole is at half mast and we are saddened by Philip's passing, but his gift to us is the safe and soundly-run Parish in which we can take such pride.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Youth turn out for air and sea

This weekend we have seen and been involved in a series of events which have helped to show us that while out-of-control teenagers hit the headlines, we have in the Island large numbers of young people who are actively involved in making the most of their life in Jersey. After a good day out at the Footie Fun Fest yesterday, we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of enthusiasm that surrounded the beginning of the annual sea cadets' gun-pull, when a 21-ft replica field gun is pulled along most of 40 miles of Jersey roads. This year cadets of the Jersey Sea Cadet Island Charity Gun Pull chose Parkinson's Jersey to be the recipients of their fund-raising. The young men and women listened intently as Eileen Smith of Parkinson's Jersey explained a little about this distressing condition and the help and support the group supply to sufferers and their carers, before our Lieutenant-Governor, Lieut-General Andrew Ridgway sent them on their way, led by the indefatigable Swasie Turner, a former police office and now proud honorary member of the Royal Marines who has made fund-raising his life.
A short while later, we were at St Luke's Church where we attended a service of thanksgiving and re-dedication marking the 67th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The cadets of the Air Training Corps Victoria Collage Combined Cadet Force and 7 (Overseas) Squadron, Air Training Corps, were a credit to their officers as they presented the flag for re-dedication and formed an honour guard from the church to the War Cemetery where the official party laid wreaths.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

A Fun Footie Day Out

A bright, sun-shiny day, easy parking and loads for families to do...that was the St Paul's Football Club and Jersey Focus on Mental Health Fun Day Out held on the field today. It was a great success and there was plenty to amuse all ages and interests and nothing was too expensive for pocket-money spenders. Seeing so many young people enthusiastically joining in the football just shows how right Standard Chartered were to choose the club as winners of their Community Award for Services to Football. A big thank you goes to everyone who was involved for all the hard work they put into making the day such a success.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Building on firm foundations

Over the last six weeks or so, I have been pleased to see that there is a real sense of community centred in our Parish, but I would like to see the Parish Hall really take its place at its heart. So, I am looking for imaginative ideas for ways we can encourage people to step forward and join in and really get the place humming with life.
I'd have some ideas already, but I would like to hear what you see as good ways to build on our community spirit.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Congratulations to the team...

Well done, St Saviour! Winner of the Best Set Design-Floral in the Battle of Flowers today. Work finished around 2.30am this morning with the final work of putting on the top of the cathedral and the bells to be done when the float arrived on site.
It was a huge effort for all those involved and we are lost in admiration for the work put in by the St Saviour Battle of Flowers Association who have been working on the float and fund-raising all year.
This is a wonderful community effort with parishioners from little ones of four and five to teenagers as well as older ones ... the oldest in her eighties!
If you didn't take part this year, then we thoroughly recommend joining in next year. We took part as lowly flower decapitators and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, met up with old friends and made new ones.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Flower power

The flower heads are beginning to cover the Parish float and the St Saviour Junior entry as the pace hots up. If you have time to help, do come and do so; if you don't, at least pop by and see what your Parish is doing and encourage the workers. There is such a happy atmosphere and the hard work is relieved by rgular breaks for tea and coffee, and the early evening barbecue to feed the hungry. The music that's been chosen is perfect for the theme built around the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and there was many a helper muttering "The bells! The bells" as they cut and stuck flower heads.

Friday, 3 August 2007

The flowers arrive...

It was organised chaos at the Parish Depot last night with the arrival of fresh flowers in gorgeous profusion. All hands were needed and there was a wonderful turnout...the best ever, according to Anne Quenault. I counted more than 80 people at one point. Outstanding were the young people, from teenagers to little ones of only five or thereabouts. They ran and fetched and carried and gofor-ed and were a real help to the grown-ups. It was a wonderful scene of adults and children working together to reach a target. The result was that we were finished by 8 pm with all the flowers stripped of their stem leaves, ends clipped, and stored in buckets of water to finish opening over the weekend.
Flower-head cutting and sticking begins on Monday, 6th August at 10 am, working through to the evening. Be there. You'll work hard and enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

de seeds is many...

Our first visit to the Parish Depot to help with the St Saviour float for the Battle of Flowers, where we were promptly put to deseeding hares' tails. What fantastic work has been done already! Volunteers have been busy since April with completing the eraly stages ready for the flowers to arrive tomorrow. Then it's all hands to the pump...so why not come and join us. It's great fun and the more people who take part, the more the work can be shared. That's 6.30pm onwards in the Parish Depot at Rue des Pres Trading Estate...just follow the signs.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

No flower power at the Depot

It seems that the flowers for the float have not arrived yet, but the Open Day will go ahead tomorrow (Wednesday, 1st August); it will be a great chance for people like me to go along and see if I can do anything to help. Why not join in? I am sure there will be plenty for everyone to do in the run-up to Battle of Flowers day.

Monday, 30 July 2007

All quiet at the Depot

Went down to the Parish Depot, promptly at 6.30pm to find the doors firmly locked and no one there. We'll try again on Wednesday, which is the Open Day, when we expect to find a hive of activity. Instead of helping on the Parish float, we took a drive out to St Catherine and admired the two teepees at the bottom of St Catherine's Hill before continuing down to St Catherine's Breakwater to get a very clear view of the French wind farm across the water.

Getting to know you...

After all the excitement of preparing for a contested election that didn't happen, this is now a quiet time that I certainly wasn't expecting. However, it gives me a few weeks to really get to talk to people and find out what the issues are while there are no States sittings.
With the Battle of Flowers getting ever closer, our amazing parish team are busy building the St Saviour float. If you want to get more involved in the Parish, what about coming down and helping? Wednesday, 1 August, from 6.30pm, there is an Open Evening at the Parish Depot in Rue des Pres.