Monday, 8 December 2008

St Saviour on Parade

It was with great pride, and a good deal of hopping up and down and waving, that Elaine and I saw the two St Saviour's floats lead the Christmas Parade along the Esplanade with Roger Quenault making a particularly magnificent bearded gnome on his equally magnificent tractor...but whether our float was chosen because of the magnificence of Roger or his tractor, we'll never know! We were amazed by the transformation of the Battle of Flowers' Junior float Punch and Judy beach scene into Santa's Grotto, with Santa himself throwing sweets to the children and a host of attendant elves, including Ann Quenault.
It was then that, with some awe, we watched the Parish float, Curtain Call, worthy winner of the Prix d'Excellence, reach new heights in its presentation after many hours of hard work by the St Saviour's Battle of Flowers committee and members. We were so proud of our parish and the community spirit that went into this really amazing spectacle. The lights and the dark skies suited the theme and it really did seem to "float" as it passed by as if carried on a pool of green light. Our dancers and lady attendants gave a wonderful performance while handing out sweeties to the youngsters...and a few oldsters like us as well.

Miss St Saviour looked stunning in her place of honour on the float.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The autumn leaves of red and gold

About a dozen parishioners and friends joined St Saviour in Bloom floral co-ordinator Graham Langlois for our Winter Woodland Workout on Saturday 15th November. I have to say that I was not the most industrious of the keen eco-warriers, with their gloves, spades and forks, who set to work on clearing the brambles and getting the woodland at Jardin des Buttes, just opposite the Parish Hall, ready for the hundreds of snowdrops and bluebells etc. we have started to plant. Planned as an opportunity to work out before the Christmas season gets to work on waistlines... about nine of us did do some damage to those same waistlines by tucking into Elaine's hearty winter soup with French bread and scoffing a cake or two in the Parish Hall afterwards. We are planning to have some regular meetings of the Jardiniers in the Jardin des Buttes over the next few months, so do let me have your email address if you would like to join our brambling band.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ninety years of remembrance

Remembrance Sunday dawned mercifully dry although cold and blustery. After a moving service and thoughtful sermon in the Parish Church, the Rector, Reverend Doctor Anthony Swindell, led the Service of Remembrance at the Memorial Cross outside the Parish Hall. I laid a wreath on behalf of the Parish and it was joined by one from the Women’s Institute and the 3rd Jersey (St Saviour) Scout Group, whose young Beavers came forward to plant their own carefully made red poppies in the Garden of Remembrance. In the quiet of a busy road with traffic brought to a standstill by our Honorary Police, we were able to observed the two minutes silence amid the rustle of autumn leaves. We had a good number of people attending the short service and the young Beavers behaved admirably. Afterwards, we went up to the Parish Hall for refreshments and a chance to get together and chat. My thanks go to everyone who helped to make this 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a quiet but touching tribute to our countrymen and women who have fought and are still fighting to make the world a better and more peaceful place.
"We shall remember them".

A moment of peaceful reflection

The annual Poppy Appeal was launched on Sunday, 26th October at the Cenotaph in the Parade and we, in St Saviour, played our part. After a quiet and thoughtful service in the Parish Church, the congregation were invited to proceed to the graves of the four parishioners known to have died in action. Two solemn youngsters from the 3rd Jersey (St Saviour) Scout Group placed one of the distinctive small wooden crosses with a poppy firmly fastened to the front at each grave as we joined in a short prayer and spent a few moments noting each individual, where, and at what a young age, he died.
A mother who lost a soldier son in the Second World War said: "To the world he was a soldier, but to me he was the world." My generation has been very lucky in not being called to serve our country in this way and, even more importantly, we have not had to watch our sons go off to war, although it is a sad fact that British service personnel have died in action in every year from 1900, except in Aden in 1968, and each one had someone at home to receive the sad news.

Since our little ceremony in the churchyard, Elaine has discovered a grave which commemorates the loss of a young soldier posted as "missing" at Oppy, in Northern France, in 1917, whose body was never found. We will include his memorial next year.

The best time to plant a tree is now

There is an old proverb, supposedly Chinese, that says: "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago". It was, and I have this on good authority from James Godfrey, CEO of the RJA&HS, actually in 1924 that the 12 Parish Connétables planted 12 poplar saplings at Springfield, the year in which Springfield Hall was opened... and four or five of the trees are still there. On Sunday, 12th October this year, the 12 Connétables were invited to record the 175th anniversary of the society by each planting a tree at the RJA&HS headquarters and showground. This time native species were chosen: mine was a sturdy young chestnut and I shall watch its development with interest. It is a great privilege to plant a tree, whether in our own garden or for an official occasion to mark a special moment for, as the old saying makes it clear, we may not be around when it reaches the beauty of its maturity. However, I willingly planted my tree and take heart from the end of the proverb which continues: “...and the second best time is now”.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

An eco-friendly day in St Saviour

Building on the success of the last two years’ CRS Awards Ceremonies and Farm Walks, an event dedicated to the Countryside Renewal Scheme and Jersey ’s Countryside took place at Grainville School and St Saviour’s Parish Hall on Saturday 27 September between noon and 4 pm. It was very enlightening to attend the awards ceremony in the morning and see just how much progress has been made over the last year. It was the first time that CRS have held their annual event in a school rather than on a farm and there were eco-friendly stalls, Genuine Jersey, environmental displays, refreshments and events in the grounds of Grainville School and St Saviour’s Parish Hall.
After the events at Granville School, around 40 people met Blue Badge guides Sue Hardy and Peter Double for an educational, historical and wildlife stroll through the school grounds, via the wildlife pond project, Swan Farm, Rectory Lane, St Saviour’s churchyard and not forgetting our own St Saviour in Bloom wildlife project in Jardin des Buttes.
We were so lucky with the weather, which was like a summer’s day, and also with the willing helpers from several parish associations and societies, who threw open the Parish Hall and gave everyone a chance to find out what was happening in St Saviour while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and a delicious WI homemade cake. My thanks go to everyone who made this such a successful occasion.

Pictures by Chris Carter

Constabulary duty continues to be done

As I entered the Parish Hall on the evening of Wednesday, 17th September, it seemed quite astonishing that a year had passed since I stood first successfully for election as Constable of St Saviour and a lot has happened during the year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year in office and was delighted to be asked to stand again. We started planning the campaign, making posters and designing leaflets and so there was a slight tinge of disappointment when no one stood against me, although I have to say that I am quietly pleased that the parishioners of St Saviour seem to be happy with what I am doing. It is a great honour to lead our parish, and I am always willing to listen to your point of view.

A time for song and reflection at Eden

Eden Methodist Church celebrated its 175th anniversary on the weekend of the 13th and 14th September on the theme of ‘All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above’ and the many gifts found in the skills and talents of the congregation. The foundation stone for the church was laid in May 1833 and the inaugural service held on 15 September in the same year. The church was filled with light and colour and displays of art, photography, handiwork, poetry, harvest gifts and a even a dolls’ house collection. Some of the young people had taken on the study of the role of Christianity in a modern world and how science and faith work together. Elaine and I joined a happy throng of people for tea on the Saturday afternoon and and opportunity to browse among the displays and then returned on Sunday for the Harvest Festival, a time of quieter reflection and a chance to enjoy the ladies' choir in full song.We do thank everyone for the warmth of their welcome.

Let's keep that bell ringing

I am delighted that our newsletter, La Cloche: Esprit de St Sauveur, has been published and very warmly received. It was posted out to 5,000 parish homes, including mine, during the week beginning Tuesday, 9th September, and I know that a lot of hard work has gone into its production and I thank everyone who took part. If anyone didn’t get a copy and would like to go on our mailing list, please contact me and let me know. The La Cloche editorial team are planning to publish three times a year, in March, June and September, and I am hoping that many parishioners will send in their news and pictures for consideration. The newsletter committee are planning to build up a good sales team to get out and find the essential advertising that all publications need if they are to be self-sufficient, so do let me know your thoughts on this.

In memory of the Battle of Britain

It was a privilege for us to be invited to attend the Battle of Britain Memorial Service at St Luke’s Church on Sunday 7th September. On a fine bright day, we gathered to pay our respects at a service in the church and afterward at the memorial in the Military Cemetery in Howard Davis Park and it was, as ever, moving to see the admiration and respect held by the young cadets for the veterans: the young people only a few years younger than the older men and women were when they went to war all those years ago, and still go, to defend our freedom.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

A night to remember

Here they come...leading the parade!

No one could have been more proud than the St Saviour team, cheering and applauding in the exhibitors' stand as the mighty St Saviour float, "Curtain Call", led the parade of floats on to the arena for the Moonlight Parade.

It was a great thrill and one that we felt privileged to be part of. The evening parade is a time for everyone to enjoy and celebrate their achievements as part of this tremendous community event...and we certainly did!
Photos: Peter Hanning

Friday, 15 August 2008

Congratulations, St Saviour!

First view of our prizewinners:
It was so exciting trying to read the prize cards as the floats came into view...

Parish of St Saviour, "Curtain Call": Prix d'Excellence! Best Costumes! First in Class! Parish of St Saviour Juniors: Prix Decor! First in Class!

What a day! From the early hours of the morning when the final flowers were glued in place, to the tension of manoeuvring the float out of the Depot and on to the road and then the sheer excitement that built up as we awaited the arrival of "Curtain Call" on the arena, the Battle of Flowers was a nail-biting event. It was as we applauded Trinity's fine entry and their award that we realised that they were pointing over their shoulders towards where our float was waiting back along the road...'You've done well,' they seemed to be saying. And we had. But to be the best in our class, to receive the award for the Best Costumes and the Prix d'Excellence, and for our juniors to be awarded First in Class and the Prix Decor is not done without hard work, particularly from designers Jean Roche and Samantha Dean, Terry Gorvel and the St Saviour's Battle of Flowers Committee and also from the many parishioners who joined in and took part. The Battle of Flowers is our biggest community event in the parish and all ages gave countless hours to achieve such a fantastic result.

Photos: Peter Hanning

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Curtain up on Curtain Call

I can't believe that it is already a year since Elaine and I went down with all the other volunteers to help get the St Saviour's Battle of Flowers float 'Curtain Call' ready for the arena, but there we were again on Wednesday night, marvelling at the magnificent float that was already appearing from the bare bones. I have been trying to get down most evenings to help where I green thumb nails show that I am learning my trade as a flower decapitator...and watch the float develop day by day. designers Jean Roche and Samantha Dean, Terry Gorvel, every member of the committee, their families and, it seems, half the parish are down at the Parish Depot at all hours. The number of volunteers and their willingness to put in long hours of work is remarkable and, whatever the results on the day, I shall be so proud to be there in the stands cheering on our entry.

Photo: Elaine Hanning

Two days of fun and foam

From the moment the French teams and their supporters began arriving on the Friday evening, laughing, chatting and waving water pistols, it was obvious that the weekend of the Jeux Intervilles on 19th and 20th July was going to be a great success. We were delighted to welcome nine other parishes and their Norman twin towns, but particularly, we welcomed our own twin, Villedieu-Les-Poeles, and the enthusiastic group, including the town's mayor, who were such wonderful supporters of our joint team. A huge amount of work had gone into the organisation of the weekend and, as we are not likely to be hosting it again for another 40-odd years, I wanted it to be done well. It was. And I thank everyone who was involved in this mammoth event, especially the St Saviour's Twinning Association and our sponsor, BNP Paribas for making it possible.
Grainville field was a magnificent setting and much admired, the St Saviour Battle of Flowers Association gave us their support by running their annual fete at the same time, our teams were in the thick of the water and foam and then, just a few hours later, the RJ&HS hall became a spectacular venue for the Saturday night dinner dance before, a few more short hours later, the teams were back on the field to compete with great good humour.
Photos courtesy of Jersey Evening Post

St Saviour keeps up to date

It was with some surprise that I noticed that some 30 cardboard boxes had mysteriously appeared in our garage. As chairman of St Saviour in Bloom, I am sorry to say that I don’t always make it to the meetings, but I do keep in close contact with the committee and like to know about what they are doing in their efforts to enhance our parish. In fact, I see one of the most important results every day when I arrive at the Parish Hall. Every year I think the parish hall looks stunning and I wonder how will they top it, but this year the committee and our staff from the Parish Depot have done it again and I know from the comments I have heard that their hard work is very much appreciated. So, back to the anonymous boxes...they were the result of another St Saviour in Bloom effort, our own calendar of views of St Saviour through the seasons, which is now on sale to help raise funds for the committee’s community work. I was delighted to receive the first calendar out of the box from St Saviour in Bloom co-ordinator Graham Langlois.
Photo: Denise Ferri

Monday, 11 August 2008

Celebrating Le Quatorze

It was a great privilege to be invited to join the Island’s French community in celebrating Bastille Day at the Town Hall where we were able to thank the retiring Honorary French Consul, Robin Pallot, for the willingness with which he has always helped us in the parish, when occasion demanded. We were also able to congratulate the new consul, David Myatt, who has already proved invaluable in his role as managing director of BNP Paribas, sponsors of the forthcoming Jeux Intervilles which St Saviour hosted on the following weekend.

Recognition for woodland scheme

After the excitement of the Parish in Bloom competition, there was another surprise in store just a couple of days later when, on 11th July, the St Saviour in Bloom team were presented with a cheque for £3,500 to go towards improvements in the Jardin des Buttes, the woodland area opposite the parish hall. This is a generous amount of money and I was even more pleased to hear from Mark Cox, operations director at Checkers, that the money had been raised by one of their environmentally-friendly community projects. Checkers and the Jersey Evening Post’s ecycle service set up a scheme to encourage Islanders to reduce their use of plastic carrier bags and to improve the environment at the same time. The scheme followed a special offer for Islanders to obtain jute shopping bags for £1.50 each, or £2.50 for two. For each bag sold, Checkers offered to donate 50p to environmental projects nominated and voted for by the community. The sum of £5,500 was generated by the scheme and four projects were out forward for consideration as possible winners. St Saviour won the main award and St Helier in Bloom took the second award of £2,000.
The money is very welcome and will be used wisely, but even more encouraging was the reasons Mr Cox gave for their choice, he saw them both as involving large numbers in the community, they were sustainable and would have major benefits for the environment – and that’s exactly what we are setting out to achieve with our woodland area.
Photo: Elaine Hanning

Paying the rate for the job

It was a solemn moment to step up as Connétable on to the stage in our magnificent Salle Paroissiale on 10th July for our annual parish assembly to fix the rate. It’s good to see so many of our most community-minded parishioners at this important meeting, but I am always a little surprised that more people don’t attend. For a community to be able to decide how they want to spend their money and vote on the level of tax they should charge themselves has always seemed to me to be the ultimate in democracy. We have the opportunity to make our individual voices heard in the decisions made about parish finances and that has to be a responsibility we take seriously for ourselves, our families and our community.
The Parish Rate has been fixed at 0.85p per quarter, the Island Wide Rate at 0.64p for domestic and 1.16p for non-domestic ratepayers and so the total rate will be 1.49p per quarter for domestic and 2.01p for non-domestic ratepayers.

A blooming good result

There was a real sense of the right decision being made – I was delighted but not surprised – when I heard on 10th July that a gold medal and the award for Best Florally-Decorated Parish Hall had gone to St Saviour, and we had also achieved a silver-gilt medal in the Parish in Bloom competition. Every year I wonder how our dedicated parish team can do better and each year they have surpassed themselves. The award and the many visitors I see stopping to take photographs are a real testament to the effort and hours of work that have gone into making our parish hall look wonderful. Many comments have been made and I have been very pleased to receive many compliments on behalf of our St Saviour in Bloom team, led by co-ordinator Graham Langlois, our own parish workforce down at the Parish Depot and the many parishioners in the community who have taken on projects that have all helped to enhance our parish and involved friends and neighbours working together to make St Saviour a better place.
Photo: Elaine Hanning

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Jack Le Sueur

It was with sorrow that we heard of the death of Jack Le Sueur, on Wednesday, 25th June. He was a great cattle man and one who will be sadly missed and never replaced. This year, 2008, had, however, in many ways been a good year for Jack and Eileen, beginning in January when, on the 19th, they celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary with their family. We were able to celebrate with them at the annual St Saviour Christmas lunch, which is always held in January, and they were later entertained to tea at Government House by the Lieut-Governor Lieutenant General Andrew Ridgway and Mrs Ridgway. During the recent visit of the Jersey World Cattle Bureau for their conference, Jack was brought to the Country Life museum at Hamptonne by his daughter, Sadie Rennard, and greeted many old friends among the visiting cattlemen and women in the museum’s kitchen, and many of them were lost in wonder at the many trips across the Atlantic that were made by prize Jersey cattle with Jack in charge during those long journeys of yesteryear.

Jack was born in St Saviour, in the very farm to which he brought Eileen as a new bride and where he found his final rest. Eileen came from the west (the Far West) but they made their home together in St Saviour and what they have done for us in the parish and in our community over the years has brought fun, pleasure and enjoyment to many people. We can all be thankful that Jack was able to see out his final days in his own home at Clairval Farm and I am sure there are many who, like me, are proud to call him a St Saviour parishioner.

Battle for the crown

The Miss Battle of Flowers Competition 2008, held at the Pomme d'Or on Saturday, 14th June, was a riveting evening with 13 attractive young women competing for the prestigious title. Miss Battle of Flowers 2008 is Holly Fraser, and we wish her every success in her reign. There was a good representation from the Parish of St Saviour, both in numbers with some strong support for our two contestants and with former Miss St Saviour and the reigning Miss Battle of Flowers, Vicky Trehorel, handing over her tiara and placing the sash over Holly's shoulders. Vicky has been a great ambassador for our Island and for our parish and her final speech was a fine example of the charm and intelligence with which this young woman has carried out her duties.

Tea for Two...hundred (well, nearly)

We were blessed with a fine evening for Senior Citizens' Garden Party held in the grounds of Government House by kind permission of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor Lieutenant-General Andrew Ridgway, on Saturday, 14th June. Tea was provided by Modern Hotels and music by the indefatigable Steve Roxton and his trusty accordion. The Governor joined us and achieved some nifty table-hopping to get round everyone, while Mrs Ridgway had to admit defeat and remove the couple's latest acquisition, a Pomeranian pup called Willoughby from the scene. Pomeranians, according to the breed standard, exhibit "great intelligence in expression; activity and buoyancy in deportment" and their temperament is "extrovert, lively and intelligent". Young Willoughby is certainly all of those things and he is fast becoming a great favourite around the parish. Elaine and I enjoyed an excellent tea with the Senior Citizens and it was lovely to see that so many had dressed for the occasion in true garden party style.

"Un long-weekend" in Villedieu-les-Poêles

It may have been only a weekend in length, but our recent visit to our twin town of Villedieu-les-Poêles was packed with events. Our little party from St Saviour could not have been better looked after. We had been invited by the Maire, M. Daniel Macé and their Twinning Committee to join them in celebration on Sunday, 8th June, of the Grande Sacre, a joyous mix of tradition, religion and fête day, the Grand Sacre is a major event in Villedieu-les-Poêles. Every four years, the Sourdins, as the inhabitants of the town are called (due to the deafness caused in olden times by the constant hammering on metal by these bell and pot makers), recognise the part played in the foundation of the town by the Knights of the Order of Malta (Chevaliers de l'Ordre de Malte), the Roman Catholic descendants of the Knights of the Order of St John. King Henry 1 of England, Duke of Normandy, donated the land to the Knights and they created this "Town of God". From 5.30 am, townspeople were awake, putting the finishing touches on their work. The streets were decorated with flowers and the day included Mass in the local park, a jolly good lunch, and an afternoon procession around the decorated streets of the town. It was an amazing and moving spectacle and we were delighted to have been invited to join in a very special day in Villedieu-les-Poêles.
Photos: Peter Hanning
More info on Villedieu and Le Grand Sacre:

Grand school at Grands Vaux

I have to admit that it was a bit of a surprise to be invited to speak to Year 5 at Grands Vaux school on the subject of political rhetoric, the persuasive speech of politicians and campaigners, and even more of a surprise to find that the children had been taking a real interest in the subject. They had visited the States Chamber, they took my short talk very seriously and I believe that they will be going on to look at persuasive speech in advertising, much of which is directed at children. This is a meaty subject for young people and I was very impressed by the sensible questions and obvious thought that had gone into the lesson. I do congratulate everyone concerned

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Cow parsley, croissants and homemade cake

What is the difference between a weed and a wildflower? I am sure there are those who can give me a definition, but suffice it to say that, for me, a weed is sometimes simply a wildflower in the wrong place, but most frequently it is the type of wildflower, or garden flower gone wild, that will if left overwhelm all the smaller plants. Saturday saw the first official meeting of the St Saviour Jardiniers, the woodland volunteers who are bringing new life to the Jardin des Buttes, just below the parish hall. It was a drizzly morning, but mild, and the jardiniers, wearing thick gloves, worked with a will to pull up the cow parsley that has shot up to head height and beat back the nettles to areas where we can allow them to flourish. At this stage the goal was to cut them off at the root and then return in the autumn to dig out the roots. After an hour and a half of steady work, the jardiniers came up to the parish hall where we enjoyed tea and coffee, buttered croissants and delicious homemade cake supplied by Mary Le Brocq. Thanks must go to Parish in Bloom co-ordinator Graham Langlois and the committee for organising the event and to all those who came along to take part: the woodland already looks so much better, the sunlight can get down to the ground, plants and, yes, not a few weeds are flourishing and birds are nesting in the trees.

Friday, 23 May 2008

A excerpt from Russell Gammon's blog

Russell Gammon from Canada is a great enthusiast of the Jersey cow and of the Island. A senior vice-president of the World Jersey Cattle Bureau, he is attending the cattle conference in Jersey this week. The Island has certainly pulled out all the stops to make this a week to remember for the delegates and I am delighted that St Saviour has played its part in the proceedings. I hope Russell won't mind if we share an excerpt from his blog:

Loving every second! May 23, 2008 – 6:11 pm
We have now reached the point of advanced sensory overload. Allow me to try and explain why!On Thursday current WJCB President Johannes Van Eeden of South Africa and Uruguay commented that while this was his seventh trip to Jersey he was still finding an overflow of new things to see and do! I believe every single delegate at our conference this week would know exactly what he meant! As the official and formal conference sessions are now over we spent Thursday together and on the move all day long! Fascination reigned as we walked to West Centre to be awed and enchanted by the “urban herd” who “reside” there. Bureau Patron/Matron Annie Perchard of St Martin explained the involved life story of these exquisite creatures (and their wee Crapaud friend!!). It would be interesting to know how many camera shutters were hit as photo upon photo of cows with people were taken once Annie’s explanatory speech was concluded! Trundling around the commercial centre of St. Helier was followed by a short bus ride to the Country Life Museum at Hamptonne in St. Lawrence and then the Leith family Chalet herd. It was a day to look forward and around and ahead. 95 years young, Jack Le Sueur had been brought to the museum by his daughter Sadie Rennard and greeted friends old and knew in the museum’s kitchen. It was gripping to see how people who had known Jack or who had heard of this seasoned ambassador for Jersey trooped in for a few minutes of communicating with Jack! Jack has reached iconic status as an ambassador for Jersey from his many trips to North America to work with Jersey cattle. Despite light rain, the Leith cattle got a good work out as cowaholics reviewed the herd and the management program. A special treat for a sub-set of the tour group was a side visit to the farm of Frank and Val Cudlipp in St. Lawrence. The Cudlipps manage their smaller herd in a very traditional manner with prodigious energy despite advancing years! At their farm visitors were exposed to horned cattle, tethered on pasture, the use of mallets to drive pegs into the ground, explored small scale potato managment and planting practices and also grass-cutting with a sycthe. Frank “had people at hello” by simply being nothing more or less than himself.It was a refreshing glimpse into once-common but now rare ways of farming the land and animal husbandry. Thursday evening was spent at the glistening grounds of Trinity Manor inspecting the fine cattle in the Trinity herd and enjoying yet another festival of eating fine food in a massive marquee on the immaculate and pristine lawns.We are now at the point of saturation where we have been given so much to remember and reflect upon. Thousands upon thousands of conversations have been held about cattle breeding and management, Jersey attirbutes, politics and life in our home lands and the future of the Jersey breed. We’ve lunched on physical food and a bounty of “brain food” and now we’re both into digestion of past “meals” and ready for more servings of information and knowledge!!We can only say-bring it on!!! Loving every second of it.

Perfect moments! May 21, 2008 – 1:53 pm
It has been said that we will not know true perfection in this life, this world-we’ll have to wait until we depart for our heavenly home some day.However; World Jersey Conference delegates experienced a “foretaste of heaven” on Tuesday with afternoon visits to the Houze and LeGallais herds in St Saviour and later the Perchard herd at La Ferme in St. Martin! Clear air, blue skies, greenest of green grasses and tree leaves, blooming trees and spring flowers and the icing on the cake-brown cows in abundance!As we strolled the country lanes between the Houzé and Le Gallais pastures the magic of Jersey on a spring day was fully and completely evident!! Later after a photo-taking session at the RJA we landed at La Ferme for an astounding evening of great fun! Many of the 24 countries here offered a song or jokes or skits and the massive marquee resounded with hoots of laughter and thunderous applause for “highly professional” theatrical contributions! Joy and thankfulness were over-flowing as a long string of buses wended their way to our home away from home at the splendid Hotel de France-conference HQ!! Today we’ll continue soaring with reports from five young Jersey supporters from our five global regions and head “west” for more brown cows in St. Peter and St. Brelade! The fun continues!

Excerpt from Russell Gammon's Blog, 22.05.2008, Jersey Evening Post

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

"Log off" takes on a new meaning

Last Saturday dawned bright but cool and there was an excellent turn out of boys from Diarmid House at Victoria College for their enterprising charity fundraiser. No sponsored sit or leisurely stroll this, the boys set to and moved all the log piles stacked in the Jardin des Buttes, the area below the parish hall which is undergoing a facelift to become a managed woodland refuge for wildlife. Working with St Saviour in Bloom co-ordinator Graham Langlois and the newly-appointed president of the National Trust for Jersey, Mike Stentiford, and under the eagle eye of Diarmid House's Mrs Angela Swindell, the event admirably fulfilled three purposes - to do something to benefit the Island, and in this case particularly St Saviour, to work together as a House and to support their chosen charities. The Diarmid students were working to raise money for their ongoing project at Loldia School, in Kenya, and also to support the work of Jersey Hospice in memory of former Diarmid House member Marc Nieuwberg and Victoria College teacher Ms Helen Blake. The whole group were a credit to their House and school and their achievements in the woodland will be really encouraging to our newly-formed Woodland Volunteers, Les Jardiniers, who will be going down this Saturday, 24th May, to continue the good work.

The parish school hums with learning

Our Parish School, St Saviour's, threw open its doors last week to the whole community, but especially to the families of its young pupils, to join in and share the rich learning experiences to be found in a lively and busy building that was fairly humming with activity as I arrived. I was delighted to be invited to join this celebration of education in a school that has been setting young parishioners on the road to learning for more than 100 years. I am sure there were among the parents and even grandparents quite a few who had attended st Saviour's School in their day. I was made to feel very welcome by my young escorts and taken to visit all the classrooms and see the splendid work on show before joining the audience in the hall to listen to singing and music performed by the children. My congratulations and warm thanks to headteacher Kate Sugden and her staff and, especially, to the young people themselves for providing such an encouraging example of school life today.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The warmth of sunshine and good company

Liberation Day dawned grey and drizzly but the sun soon shone and by the middle of the day it was warm and sunny. It was a great start for our parishioners to have fine weather for their outing to the festivities and celebrations in Liberation Square but, whatever the weather, we were always going to be sure of the warmth of good company. I had to go off early to be sure to be in the States Chamber in time for the special sitting after which I walked down in procession after the Bailiff, the Lieut-Governor and the President of Madeira, with all the members of the Royal Court and the States, to join the crowds in Liberation Square. I could see Elaine and our party of parishioners on the other side of the square, and have to admit that I would have much rather been sitting with them! Elaine had joined our party at the Parish Hall, under the guidance of Mike Mallet who is a past-master at organising these events, and our bus-load of parishioners were driven down to Liberation Square by another parishioner, Brian Malzard. St Saviour certainly had a good spot from where to view and take part in, the proceedings. The honouring of Liberation Day remains very close to Jersey hearts and we were delighted to see so many of our war years parishioners made it down to the square to enjoy an occasion that so fittingly marked their experiences, but we were also very pleased to welcome our Miss St Saviour, Claudia Freitas, who represented the young people of our parish in honouring our older parishioners. I have to say that for our parish at least ─ and quite a few others, I would say ─ the highlight of the afternoon was when our own Sadie Rennard went up on to the podium to sing Man Bieau P'tit Jèrri (Beautiful Jersey).

Commemorating a lifetime's service

At a well-attended celebration and commemoration of the life of service my predecessor, Philip Ozouf, gave to the parish, we were able to present the gifts we had intended to give to the Connétable on his retirement to his children, Elena, Elissa and Senator Philip Ozouf. A superb photograph to join those of other previous Connétables hanging in the Assembly Room was unveiled by Philip's brother, Francis. Elena and Elissa formally uncovered the Parish gift of a traditional Jersey marriage stone in carved granite featuring Philip and Olga's marriage date and two entwined hearts with, underneath, details of the Connétable's dates of office. The Honorary Police, represented by Chef de Police Colin Foley, presented the family with a sculpture in bronze of a cow, in memory of the many occasions when the "honoraries" turned out to deal with escaped cattle that turned out to be from Highstead. Earlier, we had met the family in Patier Park to dedicate the handsome young pear tree that has been planted by the St Saviour Parish in Bloom committee in honour of Philip Ozouf's commitment to improving and enhancing the parish through our entry in the Parish in Bloom competition. I was delighted that so many members of the Ozouf family, including Miss Doris Ozouf, and parishioners, including our Lieut-Governor, General Ridgway, as well as a good company of States members and others wanted to join us in commemorated a superb record of service to the Parish of St Saviour which is unlikely to be surpassed. I am sure we were all moved to hear from Senator Philip Ozouf speaking on behalf of the family that the familiar Parish Flag, lowered on the day of his father's funeral, is flying once more at Highstead.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Digging in together

The sun shone brightly when Elaine and I visited the Jersey FOCUS on Mental Health's group home, Camelot, this morning to see the first joint venture between the Parish in Bloom teams of St Helier and St Saviour dig in and get planting. Sue Rodrigues and her team from St Helier and Graham Langlois and his team from St Saviour were made very welcome by Julie and Karen and the other staff and residents of Camelot, and everyone soon got stuck in to planting flowers, vegetables and herbs...well, that's excepting Elaine and me. We found ourselves a good spot on the first floor where we could wander, hot coffee in hand, from a view over the front garden, where flowers were taking pride of place, to the bridge link to the raised garden at the back from where we could look down on the sun-trap patio down below where peas, beans and herbs were being tucked into rich soil. We called ourselves "two mugs on a bridge" ... and nobody argued!
Jersey FOCUS on Mental Health is a charity devoted to the aims of promoting good mental health and helping to develop effective services for those who suffer from mental illness and I was delighted to be part of this first joint effort between the two parishes to improve life for the residents.

A shining example to our Parish

I was delighted when I heard that nine girls had come forward to compete in the Miss St Saviour 2008 competition, and even more delighted when, as one of the judges, I had a chance to hear them being interviewed by Chris Stone, from BBC Radio Jersey, and was able to help to choose our Miss St Saviour for the year. The winner was going to have something to live up to...previous Miss St Saviours, Jodie Whittingham and Vicky Trehorel (who is the reigning Miss Battle of Flowers) were both there to encourage them. Chris did a great job of helping even the most shy of the entrants to speak out about themselves and their plans and it was certainly difficult to choose the winner. I am sure that Miss St Saviour 2008, 20 year old Claudia Freitas, will be a worthy ambassador for our Parish. She was crowned at the Mayfair Hotel on Friday, 4th April, and I do thank all those who entered and made it such a grand competition, particularly our two runner-ups, Tania da Sousa and Jamie Lake.
Photo: Iqbal Karimjee

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Death of former Deputy

It was sad news to hear of the death of former Deputy John Le Gallais on Tuesday, 11 March. He had not been in good health in recent years but he was always a true Jersey gentleman and my mother remembers well campaigning for him in earlier times. He would often be seen riding his horse on lanes and byways in the early morning and he always gave unstintingly of his time to his Parish and Island. He will be greatly missed.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Spring is here ...Parish springing into action

Signs of spring in St Saviour can be found in the crocuses, daffodils, cyclamen and other plants flowering in our hedgerows and parish gardens. I know that Graham Langlois and the parish team have been out there tucking bulbs into little corners and hideaways and now we can enjoy the full benefit of them. However, there is another sign of spring.. parish committees are also springing into action with a full calendar of events has been planned throughout the year, so there is no excuse for anyone to say they are bored and, in fact, I have evidence of more people joining our community events and I am delighted that is so. (Details of all the parish associations and societies can be found on our parish page at
Elaine and I went to the Twinning Association agm and lunch last Sunday at the Ommaroo. This is going to be a busy year for us with the Jeux d'Intervilles in July when, for the first and only time in 40 years, St Saviour will host the other parishes and their twins at Grainville. There will be a lot of work to be done but also a lot of fun to be had and plans are well in hand, so I was very pleased to hear that our membership is up by 50 per cent, from 58 to 87 members. A decision will be made this week about the viability of a parish magazine and we will have the results of the naming competition. There has been great enthusiasm for this venture so we are now looking for sponsorship and support in advertising in the new publication. This the the month to also make a decision about entering the Miss St Saviour competition. Our Miss St Saviour is a great ambassador for our parish and it is a role that I hope that the new Miss St Saviour will take on with gusto and that she will play a full part in parish events.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

St Saviour's Parish in the news

This Saturday, 23rd February, we will be holding our first meeting about starting up a new parish newsletter and anyone who is interested in this venture is invited to come along to the Parish Hall at 11 am. We have had some good responses already and the makings of a very good editorial team is in hand, so if you feel you would like to take part, even if you only have a few hours to spare, do join us. The more we have, the more we can share the work involved and it won't become too onerous a task for any one person. I would also like to see parishioners getting out with their cameras, sketchbooks, paints and pencils to record the parish through the year and I would like to hear from anyone with any ideas for improving our community, especially if they are offering to help as well! You can contact me at the Parish Hall or via this website, at
We have already received some suggestions for what to call the newsletter, and the final decision will rest in the hands of the newsletter committee.

If you went down to the woods on Saturday...

There was an enthusiastic response to the call to clear the little woodland below the Parish Hall last Saturday. In a short time, logs and branches were being cleared to make way for the rotavator that will come in to prepare the ground for the special woodland grass and wildflower mix than is going to be sown there. I would like to thank everyone who turned up: we were certainly lucky with the weather, which was sunny and bright and, although it was cold, we soon warmed up. For those who ventured down towards the bottom of the valley, there was the joyous sight of wild violets blooming in the cleared spaces. There were some violets here last year, our Parish in Bloom co-ordinator Graham Langlois tells me, but the opening up of the woodland has allowed more light into the area and the violets have certainly responded. Mike Stentiford popped down to share his cold with us...thanks, Mike...but soon popped off to, I hope, a warm fire and some hot lemon and honey. We have begun collecting names for our proposed group of Parish wildlilfe and woodland volunteers and I would like to invite anyone with a few hours to spare a couple of times a year to contact me at the Parish Hall so we can add your name to the list. Just a thought: does anyone know what that little valley is actually called? I am going to try and find out so that it can have a proper name attached to it and become part of our parish community amenties, just like Patier Park.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

St Saviour’s Parish in Bloom: “Park”ing a priority

A WILD wood with squirrels and nesting birds is developing in hidden parkland tucked away below St Saviour’s Parish Hall. Work began on this peaceful haven between Government House and busy St Saviour’s Hill last February when the area’s overgrown trees and undergrowth were thinned, bird boxes put up and paths made to allow access.
The Parish has been greatly helped in doing this by Mike Stentiford and his team of volunteers, but they now have plenty to do as part of the National Trust and we must make our own effrt to make this little wildernness attractive and accessible. Now it is time to continue the project before the birds begin to nest again and I am calling for volunteers to meet outside the Parish Hall on Saturday 16 February at 10 am to go down to the area and work for a couple of hours or so on creating an idyllic woodland park where the community can enjoy the area’s burgeoning wildlife.
It’s a wonderful area that is both wild and accessible and we think it provides an opportunity for people, especially youngsters, to feel that it is a really valuable part of their parish, to come and help the site develop and to encourage wild life to come down and live and nest in the woods. As many people as possible are invited to help and no gardening skills are needed, just strong shoes and a pair of gloves are recommended to bring a forgotten area of the parish to life and create an outside classroom for youngsters in our parish.”
The scheme is ambitious and aims to develop three separate areas, each progressively wilder, and help is needed to clear the remaining logs and branches. “We’d like as many parishioners to come as possible,” said Graham Langlois, of St Saviour’s Parish in Bloom. “We’d also like to start a volunteer group that can be called on a couple of times a year in spring and autumn when we need to tidy up the area.”
With their help, the walled woodland will make a perfect small nature reserve which could be linked by natural planting through to other wildlife areas in the parish.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Looking forward: 2008

Last weekend I was delighted to welcome our Honorary Police officers to a lunch as a small thank-you to them and their partners for the many hours of their time they give to our parish. As well as forming a large part of our spirit of community in St Saviour, the recent discussions about the policing of events makes me realise just how much we owe to our Honorary Police in keeping down costs to the parish and, therefore, to our rates. Being a member of the Honorary Police is a very satisfying role as you are working directly for the benefit of our community and yet it need not be too time consuming... the more officers we have, the more the workload is shared.
I do hope that more people, men and women, will come forward to stand for election as Constable's Officer and if, in the meantime, you would like to know more about what exactly is involved and what might be expected of you, do please contact me and we can have a chat about it. I was a Constable's Officer myself for many years and while it was sometimes uncomfortable standing out in the cold and wet, there are times when I can look back and feel that by volunteering in this way, I may have been able to help somebody at a time of crisis in their life.
Last weekend also saw the annual get-together of the St Saviour's Battle of Flowers team at the Parish Hall to thank all their supporters for the work they put in to last year's successful entry. Many of us were sporting green thumb nails for the whole of August after our efforts preparing flower heads for sticking! We have a really good committee enthusiastically preparing for Battle 2008 and I hope that many parishioners will come along and help this year...again, sharing the workload is a way to make life easier for all of us. If you would like to contribute in any way to making our float for 2008 a great success, do contact Ann Quenault (879881 or or have a look at the website at and see just how many different ways you can take part. We also enter a junior float and this is a great way for young people to work together on an exciting project. I would also ask you to start thinking about who you might encourage to enter the Miss St Saviour competition in April. We have been so well-represented by our Miss St Saviours and the role is an important one for the whole parish and the whole year and not just for the Battle of Flowers.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

A New Year dawns

Seeing in the New Year last Saturday, more than 300 of our senior citizens joined us for an excellent lunch at the Hotel Ambassadeur, including our stars for the day, Jack and Eileen Le Sueur, who are about to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. The Honorary Police made an excellent job of fitting all the cars into the car park and, after a pre-lunch sherry or orange juice, we all enjoyed a good lunch and a sing-song. Elaine and I enjoyed meeting so many parishioners, old friends and new, and, although it could be said that perhaps the numbers are big enough to split the event into two occasions, I do love seeing everyone dress up and get together for a real Parish "do" and there was such a great atmosphere.

A Cracking Christmas

The 12th December saw us being welcomed back to the Assembly Room by some of our more senior citizens, members of the St Saviour Social Club, who extended their famous hospitality. We saw many of them again the next afternoon when we joined the St Saviour Golden Age Club to share tea and pull crackers and listen to the really excellent choir of youngsters from St Saviour's Primary School. They were a real credit to their headteacher, Kate Sugden, their music teacher, Gwenda Harris - an old girl of the school, she tells me - and, of course, the families of all the children who led us in singing many of our favourite traditional Christmas carols as well as their own version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
I also attended St Paul's Church on the 13th December for the Grand Vaux Primary School carol service where we were each presented with a handmade Christmas card from the children. Mine was from Katie-Ann in Year 5 and included a cheerful snowman and glittery snowflakes. Thank you very much, Katie-Ann. It was a lovely service with choir and dancers as well as traditional Christmas carols and readings, and I do congratulate Year 6 on singing Silent Night so beautifully in German.
Elaine tells me that on Friday, 14th December, she popped her passport into her handbag "just in case!" as we headed out to the Far(if not quite Wild)West to have a wonderful evening in St Ouen's Parish Hall booing and hissing the machinations of thinly-disguised politicians and big businessmen.
With just over a week to go to Christmas Day, I was delighted to be asked by our Rector, Rev. Dr Anthony Swindell, to take part in a moving celebration of the season with a service of nine lessons and carols at St Saviour's Church. It was a warm, friendly and spiritual event and the church was most beautifully decorated.
The next evening began two nights of concerted Christmas celebration with the annual evening of song presented by Les Conteurs. This is the first time we have seen Eric Le Conte take his place with his wife, Pauline, in the audience. He and his family and choir have a wonderful gift of music which they has shared with so many of us over the years, and their usual outstanding raffle helped them also to make their generous gifts to local charities (this year Jersey Family Nursing and Home Care and the Constable's Fund). Annette Blanchet is the musical director and we all enjoyed the mix of traditional carols and Christmas fun.

Christmas in St Saviour

It has been a busy month and I have to admit to not spending much time at the computer. This has been my first Christmas as Connétable and Elaine and I have enjoyed all the fruits of the season and a real sense of the good community spirit in the Parish. Christmas began with a visit from Father Christmas to the Parish Hall on 11th December to collect gifts and donations to the annual Jersey Christmas Appeal. He arrived with his sleigh and, with his accompanying shepherds, led the eager awaiting children past the superb 24-foot Christmas tree that has graced the Parish Hall this year, and up to the Assembly Room where he quickly settled down to the main business of the afternon - listening to the children share their dreams and wishes. It was lovely to see so many St Saviour youngsters (we estimated about 60) come along and enjoy the spirit of the day.