The “best St Helena Day” for years raised more than two and a half thousand pounds for Nick Stevens’s organising team at New Horizons.
Monday’s celebrations included the biggest firework display seen on the island for a decade, and the introduction of new comic sports, including a dressing-up race.
“This was the first time we had novelty sports outside of the swimming pool and I thought it went really well,” said Nick. “There were people down there laughing until tears come out their eyes.
“The teams had to get eight of their team members into a Mini. That was quite a laugh.
New Horizons and Basil Read, the airport contractor, shared first place in the tournament, said Nick, “but because they are guests I talked to New Horizons and we decided to give them the gold medal and the cup.”
Click here to see Saint FM’s pictures of St Helena Day celebrations
The celebrations began with a religious service, with music provided by members of the St Helena Band, the Gettogethers Orchestra and the Salvation Army. There was also a parade by the Guides and Scouts.
The afternoon procession saw a replica of the RMS St Helena come sailing down Main Street – but the stern half of the vessel was that of a square-rigged sailing ship. And soaring above it all was an aeroplane.
The extraordinary ship was created by Pilling School in Jamestown with the title, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” First prize was taken by another ship, created by St Paul’s.
A mini marathon attracted 32 runners, and 29 people took part in the gruelling Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, with competitors taking turns to tackle the 699 steps well into the evening.
“I was really pleased with the turnout,” said Nick, whose team has organised the event for the past six years. “We had close to 2,000 people in attendance and it was probably our best St Helena Day to date.
“We were quite amazed with the takings on the gate – £1,912.89. That is the most we have ever taken on the gate.”
With sponsorship and a street collection, New Horizons has banked £2,536.67 to help pay for its work with young people on the island. It is fund-raising to take a group of teenagers to Ascension Island next year.
“It wouldn’t work without the fantastic help I have had,” Nick told Saint FM. “It takes a lot of effort and it wouldn’t be possible without the help of a lot of people.”
He thanked various groups, including Johnny Dillon’s team at the Mule Yard and the police, as well as the main sponsors, St Helena Government and the Bank of St Helena.
The celebrations, which take place on 21 May each year, mark the anniversary of the island’s discovery in 1502.
St Helena Day dances also took place in the UK on Saturday night, in London and Swindolena.
(Pictures courtesy of Saint FM and Barry Hubbard)