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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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.

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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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Voyage to investigate illegal fishing off Ascension: reporting ban on St Helena media is lifted

extractor 640

A criminal investigation has been carried out into illegal fishing around Ascension Island.

But the media on St Helena were banned from reporting on an investigatory expedition aboard the MFV Extractor until it was over (archive picture by Bruce Salt).

No details of the operation have emerged from official sources at the time of writing.

An injunction was served on Mike Olsson, editor of the St Helena Independent, and Saint FM Community Radio, to prevent them reporting on the voyage for fear of alerting the operators of illegal fishing vessels.

Other media on the island were also bound by the injunction.

Chief magistrate John MacRitchie said in his court judgement that the media would be “unlikely to potentially interfere with the course of justice, if the situation is explained to them”.

He said acting attorney general Angelo Berbotto had failed to explain why the media should avoid reporting the voyage of the MFV Extractor.

He also rebuked Mike Olsson for giving a forthright response to a threatening email from Mr Berbotto. This was blamed for a breakdown in communications that prompted Mr Berbotto to take the extraordinary and draconian step of seeking an injunction at the 11th hour, disrupting publication of the 5 February 2016 edition of the St Helena Independent.

In his judgement in the case, Mr MacRitchie said the injunction would mean inhibiting the freedom of the press – “an extremely important right”.

But he said this was outweighed by the need to prevent “interference with the detection of serious crimes, which are specifically said to be taking place around Ascension  island.”

The affair has raised a number of human rights issues that are expected to be examined in the coming days.

There is also likely to be scrutiny of the actions of Mr Berbotto and the legal service on St Helena.

  • COMMENT: Responsible efforts by St Helena Online to find out the scope of reporting restrictions were unsuccessful. This resulted in the site being unable to report on matters of clear public interest that could, in fact, have been made public, without risk of perverting the course of justice. This became clear when a copy of the court judgement was received on Friday, 4 March 2016, only a day before the injunction would expire. I regard this obstruction as an unwarranted restraint on my human right to freedom of expression and will be considering my response. Simon Pipe, owner, St Helena Online

 

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House that: Andy auctions stamp painting for island charity

first day cover by andy crowe 1280Andy Crowe’s vivid paintings of St Helena’s capital city provided a colourful theme for a set of postage stamps. And now one of them is to be sold at auction to raise some capital for an island charity.

Readers are invited to place sealed bids in time for the auction on 17 March 2016.

Andy went to St Helena to improve social housing on the island, but made his mark in other ways as well: not least as a costumed stand-in for Napoleon at community events.

In his spare time he indulged his talent as an artist. The colours and shapes of buildings in Jamestown were a favourite theme.

Back home in the UK at the end of his contract, he has decided to take time out of housing work to chance his arm – as he puts it – as a working artist. He’s already built up a full order book.

He was so delighted to have his paintings chosen for the island stamps that he has decided to sell off his favourite, showing Main Street, for an island cause.

He says: “The proceeds will go to a St Helena charity, yet to be decided (mainly because I have no idea what the painting will sell for).

“I have also offered to auction a painting, again for a St Helena charity, when the RMS St Helena is moored in London.”

He bought up 100 copies of the first day cover showing his stamps and gave half of them to family and friends. He is selling signed copies of the rest at £15 a time – having allowed the Post Office to reproduce the originals for no fee.

The original of his Main Street scene will be auctioned as part of a sale at the Grosvenor Auction House in The Strand, London. Details can be found on Andy’s website (see the link below).

As St Helena’s first housing officer, Andy had to address severe problems with the state of government housing, as well as coming up with designs for new rented homes. Funding for them is still awaited. The job was challenging, but life on the island was rewarding.

On his website, Andy tells how he developed his technique of using a palette knife and brushes to produce of paintings of Frigiliana in Andalucia, where he had his first solo exhibition in 2009.

On St Helena, he found it “a challenge to apply the same knife and brush angles” to the rugged volcanic cliffs and vivid colours of Jamestown.

He arrived on the island in 2012 and by December 2014 his collection was large enough to warrant an exhibition in the Museum of St Helena.

“The exhibition was a great success, resulting in 12 commissions and the honour of having four of my paintings reproduced as postage stamps,” he says.

Contact Andy to find out more via his website, www.frigiliarte.com (click on More in the top menu).
Place a bid for the painting at www.grosvenorauctions.com

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