Fund for Ascension shark victim reaches double its target

More than $10,000 has been raised for Kawika Matsu, the victim of a shark attack in English Bay on Ascension Island. That is double the initial target – which was raised within 24 hours.

The 37-year-old contract worker suffered severe lacerations to his torso on July 25 after being attacked within seconds of falling from his paddle board.

Click here to read about the attack on the Daily Telegraph website

Daniel Schempp, until recently head of the 45 Space Wing of the US Air Force on Ascension, started the fund to help meet the costs of his friend Kawika’s long recovery.

In a Facebook update, he posted: “Kawika made it back to Florida.

“He’s doing well, going to be in and out of surgeries and his family arrived. He’s absolutely floored and deeply touched by all the support. Thank you to everyone who gave of themselves financially, socially or in prayers!

“I am honored to have known such a community, it speaks volumes about the quality of Ascension and all her people.”

Saints were among those who made generous donations.

Click here to make a donation

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Official general election result: Russell Yon tops the poll

Newcomer Russell Yon has led the voting in the 2017 St Helena general election, polling 753 votes – just 11 more than second-placed Dr Corinda Essex, who returns for her second term as a legislative councillor.

But three of the six female candidates were among the five who were unsuccessful.

Council veterans Derek Thomas and Brian Isaac were third and fourth with 668 and 631 votes respectively.

The other eight new councillors are Lawson Henry (568), Cyril Leo (561), Clint Beard (513 votes), Anthony Green (476), Cruyff Buckley (471), Kylie Hercules (460), Gavin “Eddie Duff” Ellick (458), Christine Scipio o’Dean (392).

Russell Yon said: “I wasn’t expecting to come out on top. I was expecting to get through because I was getting real feedback. I’m really overwhelmed and I’m happy to say thank you to my team, my supporters, my sponsors…”

New councillor Kylie Hercules said: “I think it takes a bit to sink in.”

Clint Beard said: “The team needs to get together and work hard.”

Eddie Duff said: “I feel very happy, like. Four years ago I was in 11th place and this time I’m in 11th place, so I have consistency.”

Pamela Ward Pearce, who did not retain her seat, said: “The people of St Helena has spoken and this is their wish. I feel honoured to have served St Helena for the two years that I have done. I wish the people who have got in a great deal of luck. It’s going to be a very hard four years ahead of them with all the change and they can be assured of my support.”

She said she would now be able to finish moving house – a job she hadn’t had time for while serving as a councillor.

There had been concern that a recount would be needed.

Shortly after 3am local time, Saint FM said it understood the number of ballot papers counted did not tally with the 1,108 originally received.

Presenter Tony Leo told listeners: “I certainly don’t want to be here for a recount. It’s not a good thought that they might have to count them again.”

As it was, a recount was avoided.

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Updated: Russell Yon and Corinda Essex take early lead in St Helena general election

Experienced politicians are emerging as strong performers in the 2017 general election count on St Helena – but the top slot appears to be going to political newcomer Russell Yon.

A team from Saint FM and the St Helena Independent is covering the election count for both island broadcasters. Rival SAMS has two members of staff standing in the election

St Helena’s two rival broadcasters have agreed to work together to transmit the election count on both Saint FM and SAMS Radio One, with Tony Leo hosting the programme for both

And on the basis of two samples of votes read out at the election count, two of the six female candidates looked certain not to win seat on legislative council, with another two looking doubtful.

In a selection of votes counted – in two samples – Russell Yon polled 181 votes to Dr Corinda Essex’s 172, both well clear of former executive councillors Brian Isaac and Derek Thomas, with 160 and 162 votes respectively.

The two veteran men were 35 votes clear of their next rival, Cyril Leo, on the basis of the two samples of votes.

Electors could vote for up to 12 candidates, though most voted for fewer. A number voted for Brian Isaac and no other candidate.

Clint Beard, Gavin Ellick and Lawson Henry also look likely to be elected.

Pamela Ward-Pearce and Marian Yon appear highly unlikely to secure a place on the council. They were both trailing far behind other candidates.

The initial sample – based on most but not all of the first voting papers read out – was a strong endorsement for the performance of Dr Essex, who has been an incisive figure in meetings of the previous legislative council.

It also gives a fillip to Gavin Ellick – better known as Eddie Duff – who only narrowly won a place on the council in the last general election but proved himself to be a popular “man of the people.”

Lawson Henry’s seat on the council looked secure but may be a disappointment nonetheless, given that he and Ian Rummery (not standing this time) were clear leaders in the previous general election.

He has been an outspoken critic of government officialdom and DFID, especially on matters relating to flights to Africa and links with Ascension Island.

The sample may not be a wholly accurate indication of the pattern of voting: different councillors moved up the rankings at points in the sampling.

St Helena’s election count is one of the most open in the world, with the votes cast on every single voting paper being read out at the count and broadcast on both the island’s radio stations.

Russell Yon is the son of Mervyn and Muriel Yon, both prominent islanders. He spent 25 years working on Ascension before returning home to work for airport contractor Basil Read.

In his election address, he said: “Some of my burning issues are our cost of living, minimum wage structure, cost of construction materials and most of all our communications both physically and digitally with the outside world.

“There have been changes over the years, some for the better others for the worst.

“I honestly feel that our Government have let their guard down over the preceding years and some issues have taken preference over more important ones.”

Dr Corinda was a senior government official before being elected to the previous legislative council. One of her first actions was to establish a radio programme, co-hosted with Derek Thomas, to open up debate about island affairs.

In her election address, she said: “I remain passionate about sustainable development of St Helena, which can only come about if Saints take the lead in making decisions for the island’s future and hold key positions to ensure that these are implemented consistently.

“In almost every legislative council meeting, I emphasised the need to retain, regain and value the skills and knowledge of our people, particularly those with specialist expertise which would reduce the need for expatriate input.”

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Deal signed for weekly flights to St Helena

A deal has finally been signed for an air service into St Helena’s £285 million airport  – 14 months after it should have opened.

No date has been set for the start of flights by South African operator SA Airlink.

Flights between the island and Johannesburg will include a stop at Windhoek in Namibia to connect with Cape Town.

Saints had been angry that the original, aborted air service would not have served the Cape, where the strong St Helenian community provides a support network for islanders having hospital treatment.

SA Airlink will also operate a monthly flight to Ascension Island, where workers have been virtually stranded for months after the RAF runway was declared unsafe. They’re expected to take place on the second Saturday of each month.

Dangerous winds meant the original operator could not land aircraft on the cliff-top runway.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee in Westminster found December 2016 that “staggering” errors had been made by unnamed officials.

An investigation has yet to identify those responsible.

 

Until now, most flights into St Helena have been for medical evacuations on small aircraft.

Sixty passengers flew into the island on a “historic” charter flight in May after the island’s supply ship, the RMS St Helena, broke down for several weeks in Cape Town.

The ship, which takes five days to sail to the island, has had to be kept in service well past its due retirement age.

Flights will operate weekly flights between St Helena and OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, with a stop-over at Windhoek in Namibia for a connection to Cape Town.

A proving flight must take place before a licence can be given by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

St Helena’s British governor, Lisa Phillips, said: “Very soon a trip to South Africa, for St Helenians, will take a matter of hours rather than days.  

“And we will be able to welcome tourists here in larger numbers and improve the economy of the island and offer a better life for those who live here.”

South African firm Comair won the original contract to run weekly flights into St Helena using aircraft with British Airways livery, subsidised by the UK’s Department for International Development.

But its pilot took three attempts to land on a test flight because of severe wind shear on the runway, apparently caused by mountains either side of the runway.

Solutions considered included blasting away the top of one of the mountains, but it was found that some aircraft could land safely with a tail wind, instead of the normal approach into the prevailing wind.

 

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The Last Farewell: Tony’s video tribute to the RMS St Helena

Captain Andrew Greentree had spent more than half his life at sea on the RMS St Helena. Patrick Williams and Eddie Benjamin had been on the maiden voyage up from Cape Town, 26 years earlier. Gay Marr was present when the keel was laid. And now here they all were, ploughing northward on what should have been the ship’s farewell trip.

When Voyage 242 was advertised, a year in advance, there was every expectation that “the RMS” would soon be retired, giving way to weekly flights into the island’s new airport. By the time the crew weighed anchor in James Bay and set course for London, St Helena had already given new meaning to the term, “flights delayed”. Wind problems on the runway meant the launch of the scheduled passenger service had slipped from “soon” to a not-very-reassuring “we’re working on it”.

The RMS St Helena: picture by Bruce Salt

The RMS St Helena: picture by Bruce Salt

Before the seriousness of the travel travails was officially admitted, there was talk of the RMS being sold to Alderney, in the Channel Islands. As the ship sailed teasingly close to the island on its way north, Captain Greentree announced to passengers the breaking news that the RMS would continue serving St Helena instead, for another six months (and he could have added, “at least”).

Tony Leo, veteran island broadcaster, was on the bridge to capture the announcement on camera. Just over a year later, it features in The Last Farewell, a documentary that pays tribute to this most loved of ships. The irony is that it was the RMS, still sailing doggedly on, that transported the DVDs to Jamestown for sale in the island shops. Clearly, the RMS and its crew were having trouble saying farewell after all.

Click here to buy a copy of The Last Farewell (from PM 14 July 2017)

The film emerged from the edit suite within days of SA Airlines being named as preferred bidder for the second attempt at providing an air service, with months still to wait for actual regular flights.

So maybe it wasn’t quite the adieu that had been anticipated when the voyage was planned; but it would be the last trip between St Helena and England, and that made it historic.

Among the passengers there was a poignant link to another momentous voyage. Eddie Leo was the last survivor of The Hundred Men, who had made this same journey in another ship in 1949, at a few days’ notice, to accept a grudging offer of work from the British government when it was scarce on the island. Some never returned to their families. Eddie finally went back after 67 years, planning to stay, but he couldn’t settle and so now he was rolling home to the UK. There was no better way to make the trip.

The arrival in London was spectacular, with a helicopter flying overhead as the ship passed triumphally through Tower Bridge (with very little clearance) to take up a berth next to HMS Belfast, within sight of officials and Parliamentarians in Westminster who could perhaps do with a visible reminder of St Helena’s existence.

“People could see the ship,” says Captain Rodney Young in the film. “Had it worked out, it would have been the time the island would be ready for tourism.” Ah well.

It wasn’t the only tiny detail that didn’t quite work out, says Rodney, who joined the ship in London to take command for the homeward voyage. They had to compromise on gifts. “We wanted honey but the island didn’t have any. We wanted tinned fish: not enough.” Instead, they took local goat meat, and crayfish from Tristan da Cunha.

381-rms-st-helena-captain-rodney-young-jb

Captain Rodney Young (picture: St Helena Government)

Tony filmed from the quayside as the RMS slipped back under Tower Bridge, stern-first this time, and made the trip down-river to Tilbury Docks for the real farewell. Saints had gathered from across the UK to wave goodbye to “the ship that probably brought them to England many years ago.”

Kedell Worboys, the island government’s indefatigable London representative, was among the 113 south-bound passengers. She had worked for eight years to bring the ship to London.

Gay Marr had been the London rep when the ship’s keel was laid at the Hall Russell yard in Aberdeen. As guest of honour, she took along a coin to place beneath the keel block – a shipbuilding tradition. “I gave the shipping people a St Helena crown, but they wouldn’t do it. They put it in a plaque which they presented afterwards. So I still have that.”

Cathy Hopkins was also making the journey south. She was Kedell’s predecessor in the London office, and had to deal with the chaos of the ship breaking down in the Bay of Biscay in 1999, which meant getting the crew and passengers back from France to England and then on a flight to South Africa to board a relief vessel. Many passengers abandoned their attempts to reach the island – as would happen again when a propellor failed in 2017. Cathy is glimpsed only briefly in the film, at the gala dinner on the final evening, linking hands with neighbours and singing Auld Lang Syne. She died in 2017, much mourned.

RMS St Helena

The RMS heads out of The Thames. Picture supplied by St Helena Government

At Tilbury, time for departure. A military band marched on the quayside. It rained a bit; and then confetti filled the sky and the mooring lines were let go, and the RMS eased out into the Thames Estuary and into a haze of spray from the escort vessels’ fire hoses. “This is the final voyage of this ship from the UK,” announces Captain Rodney over the tannoy, “Thus bringing to the end over 175 years of mail ships to the Cape. We are heading down the Thames…”

Out at sea, Tony shows us the life of the ship: the Captain’s cocktail party, the cricket on the after-deck, the invitation-only disco in the crew quarters, and evening events such as the Ascot Night parade of 26 hats in the forward lounge: “Pam’s come as the RMS,” says the compere. “I think the funnels are a bit big on that one.”

One passenger knitted five garments on the voyage, we learn. Food consumption included 360 eggs, 330 rolls and 228 loaves in a day.

This last UK run meant the revival of a tradition not seen on board for a few years: the Crossing the Line ceremony at the Equator, in which King Neptune and his courtiers command obeisance and selected passengers are covered in gunk (not suitable treatment for vegetarians), before a soaking in the pool. The greatest value of Tony Leo’s fine film is that it captures once-familiar moments like this that will not be seen again.

Adam Williams, 19 years at sea and unaware he would soon become the ship’s third St Helenian captain, is pragmatic. The ending of the RMS service will be “like losing a family member,” he says in the film. Without the arrival of air travel and the opportunities for tourism and maybe some export trade, the island cannot thrive in the 21st century. “It’ll be sad, but for me the needs of St Helena comes first.”

Adam Williams - captain of the RMS in its final months

Adam Williams – captain of the RMS in its final months

Nigel Thomas, petty officer, puts it in context: “For so many hundreds of years, St Helena has always been connected with ships, so it’s going to be a sad day when it sails away.”

What’s missing from these interviews, and the film, is the story of the RMS. A lot has happened in a quarter of a century and more than two million miles of voyaging. There have been moments of tragedy. Ship-board encounters have led to marriage. There has been spectacle, such as the ship’s role at the start of the Governor’s Cup yacht race to St Helena, and a close encounter in mid-ocean with a replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour (the only time the RMS has faced cannon fire).

Tony Leo will have reported on many of those stories in his 40 years of broadcasting on St Helena but his film sets out only to capture this one voyage: it gives a flavour, not a full history. The big story can be another project, perhaps best attempted on radio, Tony’s first medium.

The Last Farewell is a tribute not only to the ship and its personnel, but also to Tony’s own career, recognized just before the film’s release with the award of an MBE.

Tony Leo MBE

Tony Leo MBE

It has often been said that this ship is special not just because of its unique role as both cargo and passenger vessel, with the need to load and unload in open water, but because of the spirit that prevails on board.

What passengers may not have sensed is the strength of community among the officers and crew. Captain Andrew feels it deeply: “The ship is part of me,” he says.

Merchant seafarers might typically work on several ships in a career, but for most sea-going Saints, this has been their ship. Lenny Hayes, remembered bringing “the old RMS” from Vancouver at the start of its South Atlantic service, and here he was, still serving. Chief petty officer Pat Williams, nearly four decades at sea, was one of the volunteers who served in that same ship as part of the Task Force that sailed south during the Falklands War. “That was the highlight of my time out here,” he says. “A good crowd of guys was on board.”

The RMS: picture by Jonathan Clingham

The RMS: picture by Jonathan Clingham

Captain Rodney was interviewed by numerous film makers and journalists over the years: as the first island-born Master of the RMS, he was a seagoing ambassador for St Helena. His interview with Tony would be his last before his unexpected death on holiday in January 2017: an immense loss, felt all round the world. His pride in the ship and its personnel shines through.

“It’s been our home for over 25 years,” he says in the film. “One of the things about the ship is we actually look forward to coming back to work. Because there is a happy, family atmosphere on board. It doesn’t matter who’s on or who’s off. This is a team and one person can slip into another person’s shoes. It’s just the way we work.”

If one watches the ship sail away from high ground on St Helena, it is lost to sight long before the horizon is reached. When the final departure does come, a whole culture will vanish into the blue. We must be grateful to Tony Leo for capturing its essence in his documentary.

A few days before its release, another passing was announced: the death of Charles Frater, who recorded life on St Helena in the early 1960s, when the island’s flax mills were still working and their products were transported by donkeys. Like Charles’s film, The Last Farewell will surely become a St Helena classic.

  • The Last Farewell, Tony Leo’s film of the last UK voyage of the RMS St Helena, can be purchased online from Reach Back St Helena from 15 July 2017, and shipped anywhere in the world. A film trailer, information and updates can be found on Facebook pages for TL Productions and St Helena Local
  • The RMS leaves St Helena

    The RMS leaves St Helena

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Adam becomes third Saint master of the RMS St Helena

adam-williamsThe RMS St Helena has a new master: Adam Williams, a Saint who started his career on the ship as a 16-year-old cadet, will take over from Captain Rodney Young MBE, who died unexpectedly in the new year.

Adam will become one of three St Helenians to have captained the ship, alongside Captain Andrew Greentree.

The new master will take command of the vessel during Voyage 252, which departs Cape Town on 24 January 2017 and reaches James Bay on 29 January.

Adam left St Helena to begin college in South Tyneside in the UK in January 1998.

As a cadet he served mainly on the RMS St Helena, but also spent four months on the Queen Elizabeth 2, among other ships.

He qualified as officer of the watch in 2001, joining the RMS in August that year as a 3rd officer. He was then promoted to 2nd officer in 2003.

He was made permanent chief officer in September 2007 and qualified as a master mariner in December 2009. He takes command in the closing months of the ship’s career – though no date has been set for its retirement.

SEE ALSO: Flags lowered for Rodney, the first Saint captain

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Flags lowered for Rodney, the first Saint captain

381-rms-st-helena-captain-rodney-young-jbCaptain Rodney Young had planned to stay with his ship until the end of its days. As it was, he did not live to carry out his last duties as Master of the RMS St Helena.

The ship remained in operation longer than intended because of problems with the island’s airport; Rodney died unexpectedly on holiday, just short of his 54th birthday.

On Facebook, Rodney’s wife Jill thanked many Saints and friends who had posted messages of condolence. “Rodney will never realise how much people loved and respected him.” she wrote.

“The weather here in the Seychelles just about sums up how we’re all feeling – it’s raining tears of sorrow for my soulmate. You are already missed more than you’ll ever know xx.”

Governor Lisa Phillips had the flag lowered at Plantation House, and the same was done at The Castle in Jamestown and at Signal Point.

Rodney was the first St Helenian to become captain of the RMS St Helena. He had joined the Merchant Navy in 1979, training at the Plymouth School of Maritime Studies. He served on the first RMS St Helena from August 1980, and was one of the first four cadets on a training scheme set up by the vessel’s operator of the time, Curnow Shipping.

He was present at the launch of the RMS St Helena and became Master in August 2000, a role that saw him become something of an ambassador for the island. His is one of the first voices heard in a BBC documentary, St Helena – An End To Isolation. He tells the interviewer the ship was central to the life of the island: for many Saints and visitors, Rodney was central to their experience of the voyage.

The journalist Matthew Engel, who visited the island to write a piece for the Financial Times magazine in early 2016, said: “Rodney Young represented to me everything that was best about St Helena.

“In the way he proved himself in his career by climbing to the top of it. In the relaxed professionalism he brought to the captaincy of the RMS. In the affability and good humour he brought to his de facto role as an ambassador for the island.

“I will never forget when I went into his mother’s shop in Jamestown and got talking. I asked her name. She said, ‘May Young.’ I asked if she was any relation to Rodney and she almost burst with pride when she said, ‘I’m his mama!’

“So when I say that I send my deepest sympathies to the family, I really do so with all my heart.”

Rodney’s nephew, David Lindsay, was among more than 100 people who posted messages of condolence on Facebook. “The first St Helenian to captain the RMS St Helena,” he wrote. “He had the MBE to prove it.

“He was the youngest of eight siblings, yet he is the first to go.”

A statement said the directors and staff of the shipping line were shocked and saddened by the news. “He was much liked and respected by his officers and crew on board the RMS and an extremely competent and professional Master of the ship. He will be much missed by all his friends and colleagues.”

Vilma Clingham-Toms paid tribute on behalf of the St Helena Association in the UK. She said she was in a state of shock. She said: “He gave young Saints hope – showing them that with hard work and dedication they could be whatever they wanted to be. Nothing was out of reach.”

One Facebook tribute recalled his kindness to a passenger who lost her partner. Carrying sick passengers and their anxious family members was a part of the job that called for delicacy.

Roma Ann Stewart posted: “Rodney was such a lovely man. I think everyone who had the pleasure to have known him has at least one special story or memory of him.”

In America, Doreen Gatien wrote: “We will always remember his professionalism and courtesy on board each time we travelled home, and the fun pictures we have of him.

Maggie Peters said: “What a shock it was when we heard the sad news. I will always remember with laughter the stories that he told when I was doing a night shift at the Customs. God bless. xx”

Wilma Baker wrote: “I remember how proud we were of Capt Rodney when he passed his qualifications. Our sympathy to all the family. We shall miss him.”

Lee Vorster, a fellow Merchant Navy officer, posted from the Isle of Man: “We have lost a captain, a gentleman, a friend and a mentor. I am so shocked and sad today. RIP Captain Rodney Young: lost far too soon.”

Rodney’s wife gave a poignant response to Di and Andy Parker, who said: “The RMS will never be the same.”

Jill thanked them for their thoughts, but said: “I do hope the ship will be the same until it finishes, which was what he had planned: to be there until the end of its life. Sadly his came first.”

READ MORE:

Saint to captain RMS St Helena – September 2000

WATCH:

Our World – An End To Isolation – see Rodney Young near the start of this BBC documentary

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He was the Master at sea, but on St Helena, his family kept his feet on the ground

VILMA CLINGHAM-TOMS pays tribute of Captain Rodney Young of the RMS St Helena on behalf of the St Helena Association in the UK

We were so proud of Rodney’s achievement in becoming St Helena’s first ship’s captain. A pioneer. He gave young Saints hope – showing them that with hard work and dedication they could be whatever they wanted to be. Nothing was out of reach.

Rodney was the youngest of eight children. They all loved and respected each other, there was always banter and laughter and his siblings kept his feet firmly planted on the ground. He might be Captain Rodney Young MBE, but he was still May Young’s boy!

Patsy (his sister) is a close friend of mine since school days and on St Helena if you are a friend of one member you are a friend of the whole family. He was kind and helpful, loved and respected by everyone who knew him, a real gentleman with his heart firmly in St Helena.

The last time I saw him was at the Reading Sports. He told me that the committee and I were doing a great job, and that it was good to see so many there having a great time and to keep up the good work.

He will be sadly missed. My heart goes out to Jill, his mum and all of his family. Kind Regards, Vilma

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‘He was one of those people you meet and never forget’ – a passenger’s tribute to Captain Rodney Young MBE

Tina Wagner, a past passenger on the RMS St Helena, heard the news of Captain Rodney Young’s death at her home in Germany and wrote the following tribute. 

For Captain Rodney.

When we set eyes on him for the first time, in May 2005 in Walvis Bay, Namibia, the captain of the ship of our dreams made us smile.

A short, plump man with jowls and features we’d never seen before – as we had never consciously seen a Saint Helenian.

It didn’t take us long to realise that the captain was no laughing stock at all. He appeared very sober and very authoritative, commanding – sine qua non for a master, obviously.
But we could also see his great sense of humour.

Eight years later, in November 2013, we returned aboard the RMS St Helena for Voyage 200 to Tristan da Cunha. We were full of joy when we learned that Captain Young was her master again. It was like a circle closing.

Again, we had three weeks to observe, and we liked him better and better.

He and I became Facebook friends after our return to Germany. I never thought that he would accept my request, as I was just one of countless passengers he met in his career. He was one of those “friends” you never wanted to miss a post from. They were rare, but always funny and/or interesting – those status updates that made you laugh, dry and matter-of-fact as they were.

We went to London in June 2016 to be with our beloved ship when she made her big appearance on the Thames. We spotted him at once, taking pictures from the bridge deck.

After the RMS was moored alongside HMS Belfast and we had walked the full circle to take pictures from all angles, I heard my name being called from the crowd at Tower Millenium Pier, and there he was, with his friends and his lovely wife Jill, waving to me and even hugging me – a passenger he only met twice within eleven years. I even remember the scent he left on my cheek.

For me, for us, he was one of those people you meet and never forget, those acquaintances that make your life worth living, those people you want to find when you are travelling.

So many words, but never enough. This morning I learned that he has died, just days before his 54th birthday, just four years my senior.

The world keeps turning, but Roddy (as we referred to him between us) is dead. A light has gone from our lives – no emotive talk, but a true feeling.

Roddy – I wish you that the ocean beyond is a little bit choppy, as I don’t think you’re the one for the very calm seas. We will always love you.

Tina, Jan and the Plums (Babu and Bua – fellow passengers), and without doubt “Lena”, our RMS.

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Prince to open St Helena Airport

Prins Edward, earl av Wessex - version 4

Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex (picture: Wikimedia commons)

Prince Edward, the Queen’s third son, is to perform the official opening ceremony for St Helena Airport – as long as safety inspectors have given clearance for it to become operational.

From St Helena Government:

The historic opening of St Helena Airport is planned for the morning of Saturday 21 May 2016 – St Helena’s National Day.  It will be marked by a public ceremony at the Airport site, with royal guest HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, in attendance.

All members of the public will be invited to attend this special event, ahead of the traditional St Helena’s Day entertainments in Jamestown.

As is usual, New Horizons will be organising the traditional programme of events for St Helena’s Day.  But this year, this will be preceded by the official opening of St Helena Airport at the aerodrome organised by SHG, Enterprise St Helena, New Horizons and Basil Read – subject, of course, to prior certification of the airport.

Preparations for the opening ceremony are ongoing and further details will follow in due course.

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