St Helena Online

Author: Johnny Clingham

St Helena route

Competing in the London marathon on St Helena.

Neil Foster will join over 40000 other competitors from around the world to compete in the virtual London marathon on Sunday 04th October. Neil’s run will take place virtually on St Helena which is possibly the remotest participant joining the virtual marathon; St Helena is also going to be one of the most challenging places in the world to compete in any marathon due to the Islands very hilly terrain and size. Neil, the Canadian-born passionate runner describes living on St Helena, in the middle of the South Atlantic, as one of the most isolated remote places on earth.

Neil will have to run across the Island, touching three of the four sides, to meet his 26.2 mile goal to achieve the distance of the marathon. Neil will begin his run from a popular post box walk starting point at the South West of the Island before heading along Frenches Gut passing Cason’s forest towards the Sandy Bay Ridges, up to the summit of Diana’s peak (820m asl) continuing on towards Hutts Gate, and Longwood road passing the famous Napoleon’s house on the way to the St Helena Airport.

Neil chatting about his run with Aerobility online.

The run will include a run around the St Helena airport runway before completing the final leg of the marathon towards the newly built Airport haul road on to the final point in Rupert’s valley. Neil is also hoping to have live data tracking for most of the run.

The 26.2 mile marathon route (click to view) .

St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise, or SHAPE as they are more commonly known on St Helena, will be the main supporting body for Neil’s run on the day. SHAPE, is St Helena’s first and only social Enterprise charity which was established in 2008, SHAPE plays a crucial role in supporting the island’s disabled and vulnerable adults who could face social exclusion. SHAPE provides supportive training opportunities through environmentally friendly projects.

Neil’s run will raise money for the UK based Aerobility charity, which has similar social objectives to SHAPE on St HelenaThe Surrey based Aerobility organisation is a disabled flying charity that tackles the isolation that disability can sometimes lead to. Aerobility’s specially adapted aircraft flies from airfields around the UK and every year supports over 600 individuals. No doubt the community on St Helena will be behind Neil on his run, as St Helena is not only a special place for community spirit but also a great place for any challenge.

To support Neil’s challenge and to help disabled people to find their wings and help them to fly.  

Island wide petition decision to sort out fishing business on St Helena

St Helena’s Commercial Fisherman’s Association (SHCFA) has decided that it is now time to launch an Island wide petition with the intention of overturning and terminating the current process involving PQ Trading (SHG’s preferred investor to process fish on St Helena) and to call for an open and transparent process that ensures the security of all local fishermen both now and into St Helena’s fishing future.

This statement was released from the Fishermen’s Association as a result of a press release from the St Helena Government stating that in no uncertain terms the much awaited yellowfin and bigeye tuna total allowable catch Limits (TAC’s) have now been set and they have been set for the preferred bidder’s proposed Co-Op.

The St Helena Fisherman’s Association is frustrated as it appears that the external investor will be handed the Island’s only fish processing factory to include a large sum of tax payer’s money (that was allocated from SHG’s consolidated fund) to refurbish the fish factory for their operations, and now they are being allocated seemingly the entire allocation of yellowfin and bigeye tuna quota.

The Association also drew attention to the fact that the catch limits table for St Helena’s fishery was presented to the Economic Development Committee (EDC) on Thursday, 09th July seeking approval.  Interestingly however, it was made very clear by the Chair of EDC  at the beginning of this meeting that the total allowable catch limits for yellowfin and bigeye tuna would not be discussed as approval for these species had been established during the Executive Council meeting two days before.   Three committee members of EDC disputed this position, as they felt they were being asked to approve the table in its entirety and therefore had difficulty accepting that species included, would not form part of their decision making process.  This discontent presented them with the opportunity to ask a number of questions of the two Government Officers presenting the documentation who were the Director for Environment Natural Resources and Planning Directorate and the  Marine Conservation Officer.   

It was thought that some of the answers given were unsatisfactory and not well-founded, giving way for additional questions to be asked, which resulted  in EDC not being confident that the catch limits being presented was adequate or feasible.

The Association was appalled by the lack of proficiency shown and evidence presented at a time when decisions were being sought, which they believed to be totally unacceptable, especially when during the final stages of the meeting it was announced by the Chair of the Economic Development Committee that works towards finalising the Co-Op was in an “advance stage”. 

Tuna St Helena

As a result, following this meeting the SHCFA committee held a meeting with their members to provide them with an update on events unfolding, decisions that have recently been taken and an overview of the EDC meeting.  From this feedback it was unanimously decided that an island wide petition should be launched to call for the termination of the current process to take place which ensures that the security of every local fisherman both now and into the future.  The Association will also be asking that scientific advice designed to help achieve sustainability will actually be followed to ensure that the development of a ‘Brand St Helena’ is done so with integrity.   

Who is PQ Trading ?

 PQ Trading (STH) is now a St Helenian registered business. The directors are Johan-Marais Bezuidenhout and his father Johann Bezuidenhout. Johan-Marais Bezuidenhout started working in the fisheries in 1999, first in Plettenburg Bay for a Spanish Fish Exporter, followed by a position in South Africa’s biggest fish producing company, thereafter owning and operating a fish exporting company.

Is PQ Trading a long term investor?

PQ trading is a long term investor and is planning to build a profitable and sustainable fishing industry for St Helena.

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More information here on the preferred investor to undertake fish processing

Titan boeing

Could Titan be our next European Airline operator for St Helena

Today it was confirmed that Titan Airways has been selected to operate a second charter flight to St Helena on the 27th July 2020.

The charter flight will depart London Stansted and will stop over at Ascension Island on the way to St Helena. Inbound passenger numbers on this charter flight to St Helena is limited due to accommodation limitation for mandatory quarantine on arrival on Island, outbound passengers are also limited to a maximum of 140.

This is the second visit to St Helena for the British charter airline operator as they were contracted to fly COVID-19 test kits, staff and medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic on their Airbus A318 via Accra and Ascension Island in April 2020.

Cockpit of 757-200 – credit Bill Abbott

Titan was the first to land an Airbus A318 on St Helena and the second planned flight will see Titan utilise one of their two Boeing 757-200 aircraft.

This will also be the first time for a Boeing 757-200 to land on St Helena, incidentally the 757-200 is identically to the aircraft that is privately owned by the US president Donald trump except its configured to carry more passengers and probably don’t cost as much. Footage and a full blog post from Titans  first arrival and landing at St Helena can found here on https://whatthesaintsdidnext.com/about/blog/

Saints and travellers who have the desire to visit St Helena has voice their opinion on the urgent need for a European hub to fly to St Helena, Could Titan be the next air service operator who could deliver this service from Europe?

Photo credit to Laurent_Errera.

St Helena football team

Team effort to get a St Helena Football team to 2021 Inter-Island Games

Its less than a year away and the St Helena Football Association is planning to enter a St Helena football team into the NatWest International Island Games which are scheduled held in Guernsey next July (2021). To facilitate getting a team to the games, the Association needs to raise sufficient funding to enable the team to participate.

Last year the Association successfully raised £70,000 for the St Helena International Football Team to attend the Inter-Island Games Tournament in Ynys Mon, Wales. Despite the results not going in favor of the team, it was a great leap forward for the development of football on St Helena and also provided the incentive for youngsters on St Helena as more junior age children are now expressing an interest in junior football.

When asked what was the biggest challenge to get the team to games Nick Stevens from the St Helena Association said “it was the cost of flights to and from the Island as well as the accommodation cost remembering that the team needs to depart a week prior to the games and also they have to travel back a week after the event to meet the weekly flight schedules but also factoring in any delays in the process”.

St Helena football team
St Helena’s football team departing for the Inter Island games in North Wales

Planning is in progress to raise funds with several events scheduled on Island over the coming months. A Port to Port event is planned for the 31 August which is a sponsored walk from the St Helena Airport to Rupert’s Bay. This is a 14 km walk that is open to everyone. A 12-hour musical Extravaganza is also planned for the Friday 28th August at the Seafront in Jamestown.    There is also a raffle coming soon with the first prize been a brand new Sym Scooter.

The St Helena Association is keen to hear from anyone that has any great ideas to share that will help raise funds to help to get the team to the games again next year which not only contributes and improves Island football as a sport on the island but also exposes the visibility of St Helena as an Island on a stage that captures many football fans imagination and in the global media.

You might ask how can I help towards getting the St Helena team to the games?  You can donate here at the St Helena Football Association Go Fund Me page or at the very least please share this post with others via your social media platforms, so together we can help the organizers and St Helena achieve another goal in these testing times.

Sat ground Station St Helena

Could this OneWeb news be great news for St Helena

This could be great news for St Helena as OneWeb, the UK satellite company that declared bankruptcy in late March 2020, was  the company that had committed to establish a major ground station on St Helena, will very likely be acquired by a consortium led by Indian Bharti Enterprises and the UK Government following an auction held in New York yesterday: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53279783

Particularly since the new plan is to add a GPS-like capability to some of the satellites, whose primary purpose is still the provision of global broadband Internet, it appears highly likely that OneWeb will revive its plans for a ground station on St Helena. The plans for the navigation capability come in response to both, the UK’s exclusion from the European Galileo system due to Brexit, and the increasing jamming and spoofing threats all existing satellite navigation systems are exposed to.

St Helena could play an even more major important role for this navigation capability as it will require precise timing facilities on the ground that synchronize with the satellites. Such are preferably located in safe territory like would be the case for the overseas territories. For Galileo such a ground station was established in the Falklands but had to be decommissioned because of Brexit.

The UK government website also confirms this news, that they lead a successful bid to acquire the cutting edge satellite technology company OneWeb today on their website  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-to-acquire-cutting-edge-satellite-network

This move signals the UK government’s ambition for the UK to be a pioneer in the research, development, manufacturing, and exploitation of novel satellite technologies through the ownership of a fleet of Low Earth orbit satellites.

Photo credit to earthstation.sh you can read more about earth station St Helena here 

saint cooks

St Helena day 2020 party with Saint Cooks

Saint Cooks from St Helena the online promoting couple Robin and  Emma Jane Richards who share their passion for St Helena food and Saint Culture using online digital platforms hosted a St Helena day virtual party on their Facebook page on Saturday 23rd May to celebrate St Helena’s day.

The Party immediately attracted a crowd as they opened with their live cooking session of St Helena’s good old favourite Pumpkin Pudding recipe.

The carefully planned party kicked off in true St Helena fashion with everyone joining in as the camera’s opened up to share the busy kitchen from the couples Bristol home.

Viewers from all around the world commented and shared St Helena idea’s including someone who stayed up until 02:00hrs in Australia to take part.

Live guests joined the party from their homes to talk about their contribution to St Helena online digital platforms. The first guests arrived in style, Darrin and Sharon from “What The Saints Did Next” spoke live from their home in Alarm Forest about the great things they are contributing to St Helena including the Inside St Helena App and the great walks and St Helena experiences.

Johnny Clingham spoke about his continuous Island support and possibilities on different media content, contributing to the Island community with limitations, turning negatives in positives and kick starting St Helena after Covid-19.  

St Helena Tourism Staff members Mellissa Fowler and Shelly Magellan joined in true St Helena style and spoke live from outside of the Tourism Office as they shared views of Main Street, Mellissa touched on tourism accreditation and life on St Helena including getting prepared for the tourism market as we return to normal.

Robin dressed for the occasion as he and Emma Jane hosted an intense online quiz including guessing the weight of a cake that was donated by a local Bristol cake maker Helenly Treats.

The highlight of the afternoon was the conversation with the oldest lady on St Helena, Mamma Lizzie Peters who recalled  her days growing up on St Helena and sharing her hard cake recipe with the assistance of Lolly Young.

The Facebook comments just kept coming as Mama Lizzie entered the Facebook platform probably for the very first time on video, Mamma Lizzie also remembered Emma Jane from Salvation Army Sunday School commenting how great Emma looked on the other end despite not using margarine on her skin when she had a scratch.

The St Helena Day virtual party attracted  almost 800 comments and over 2000 views in less than 12 hours and came to an end after almost three hours  and viewers invited to jump on live at the end to comment.

The video is available on the Saint Cooks Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thesaintcooks/    

Fishing vessel MV Extractor

St Helena’s first island-owned offshore fishing vessel arrived on the island on 19 April 2014, with friends and family of her crew waiting to welcome them ashore. Bruce Salt photographed the vessel’s arrival, a round-the-island trip, and the return from the first fishing expedition. Click on any of the thumbnails to see a slideshow of Bruce’s images.

Sharon Wainwright (1960-2011) – a tragic loss

St Helena Airport Timeline

2011 continued

15 August: Sharon Wainwright, St Helena Government’s airport project manager, died suddenly in London.

In a tribute, Governor Andrew Gurr wrote:

“Sharon was so vibrant and full of life that we are all finding it hard to come to terms with her passing. Her death is more than untimely; it is a disaster of considerable proportion for all of us.

“She will live in our memories for many years to come, and when the airport is eventually opened, whenever that may be, the many thousands who enjoy that facility and the benefits that it brings for decades to come, will owe gratitude to that memory.”

A YouTube tribute was published on the first anniversary of her death:

Next page: 2011: after 68 years, momentous news
Return to Airport Timeline index

St Helena airport project website

Ma Flo’s 100th birthday party

Ma Flo, supplied by Greg Plato

When you’re a 100 years old and feeling good about it, why settle for only one party? Florence Richards – known as Ma Flo – celebrated her centenary on 25 October 2013 with fellow residents at the Community Care Centre and then had a tea party with His Excellency the Governor at Plantation House. Greg Plato took pictures at both events: click on any thumbnail below to see full-sized images. Read more here

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