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.