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”.
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.
From St Helena Government press office, 16 July 2013:
Simon Henry and Carlos Yon have today won a silver medal in the 2013 NatWest Island Games in Bermuda for the 50-metre Three Position Small Bore Rifle Team event.
This is believed to be the first time that St Helena has ever won a silver medal at the Island Games.
With a total score of 1022 the St Helena team came closely behind winners, Gotland (1089 points) and ahead of Jersey (1001 points).
The National Amateur Sports Association on St Helena is thrilled with this result and congratulates Simon and Carlos on their success.
The International Island Games were founded in the Isle of Man in 1985. 24 member islands come together every two years to compete in friendly competition in a range of up to 14 sports chosen by the host island.
Since 1999, NatWest has been the title sponsor for the Island Games, which have become one of the largest international multi-sport events in the world, behind the Commonwealth Games and Olympics.
This year’s Games are being held in Bermuda from 13-19 July. Around 2,000 athletes and officials, plus many supporters, are attending.
Nick Stevens this result as you’ll all now know is official it cause quite a stir on the island it was great to be on radio this afternoon to deliver such great news. The Castle even release a press statement
Ryan Pelley, who has been sent from Canada to help develop sports on St Helena, has clearly been enjoying the experience.
He took this picture of the sunrise over Sugarloaf during an early morning fishing trip. He’s also played cricket for the first time – an important experience to have on an island whose players defeated African national teams in their first-ever overseas tournament in 2012.
On Canada’s SportCafé website, Ryan has described being “blown away” by all that surrounds him:
“The locals, or Saints, as they like to be called, are a kind, compassionate group that have warmly welcomed me.
“I have been toured around most of the island, shown sport facilities, schools, fed the freshest tuna I have ever tasted and met a significant amount of the community. The Saints are proud to call this little rock in the middle of the ocean home, and they very well should be.
“I look forward to working together with a community and government that understands the importance of sport as a tool for development.”
He says there are challenges to be met in developing sustainable sports programmes, but says he is confident that island people “will identify sport as a tool that will help continue its progression while staying true to its cultural origins.”
Ryan holds a masters degree in International Sport Management from the Johan Cruyff Institute for Sport Studies in Amsterdam. His researches has taken him to the Philippines and much of Europe.
His year on St Helena under a “capacity support programme” is funded by the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Canada and Olympic Solidarity.
“Although my swimming or cricket abilities are less than stellar,” he says, “I do have the expertise to benefit these sports by offering a strategic plan.
“There is much to accomplish here when it comes to the overall sport system structure of St Helena.
“But I do not foresee many barriers, as there are people here involved in sport who value its presence and are willing to get on board with anything that will benefit the future of sport on the island.”
St Helena sports fans need to exercise caution when exercising, with the state of Francis Plain causing growing concerns.
Rodney Buckley said: “The medical people are a little bit worried about the hardness of the field.
“The un-level playing field is causing health problems to sportspeople later in life in terms of jarring of their knees and that kind of stuff.”
Charges for using sports facilities on St Helena are to go up from 1 April 2013, to pay for improvements.
Mr Buckley, chairman of the island’s education committee, said: “Francis Plain itself is in a pretty bad state. It’s been like that now for some 30 years, with thousands of little feet running over it every day.
“The topsoil on Francis Plain is down to two or three inches and it’s not going to last too much longer. Before too long there’s going to be no grass.”
New charges will come into play on the first of April 2013.
Footballers could see a surge in costs of up to five times greater than that of last year.
New charges for football are 50p per game for an adult, and 25p for a child. Charities are to receive 50% discount to make sure the rise does not affect them like the others.
Last year the Football Association paid £76. With the new prices, it could find itself forking out up to £440.
The director of Education, Colin Moore, is concerned that there are insufficient sports on the curriculum and wants to see better facilities.
The government’s objective is to have a healthy community whereby it is safe for people of all ages to play.
St Helena’s national cricket team is in need of a better playing ground if it is to progress further in international tournaments.
Mr Buckley said teams would have to think of ways to meet the rise in fees. “We are living in a tough world,” he said. “We need to look at things a bit differently.
“Do they need to have all those trophies? Or is it time to ask people coming over to watch the sport to pay at the gate, or ask players to pay 25p on the day like they do with skittles? With skittles, you pay your 50p on the night.
“Everybody needs to rethink the way we do things.”
Suzanna Parsons, Ross Watson and Huma Mian are journalism students at Birmingham City University
The record for climbing Jacob’s Ladder has been broken by less than a second – by a “runner” who went up on all fours.
Graham Doig cleared the 699th step of the St Helena landmark in a time of 5 minutes, 16.78 seconds, using feet and hands. Then he rolled on to the ground at the feet of spectators.
The previous record was 5 minutes 17 seconds.
And island resident Martin Squibbs set a new record for others to try to beat – five ascents of the Ladder (and four descents) in a time of one hour, 14 minutes and 4 seconds, with the clock running throughout.
Martin is an outdoor enthusiast who has made a practice of climbing the notorious flight of steps out of Jamestown at least twice a week.
He had previously managed three ascents in succession before deciding to set himself the five-climb challenge.
School student Charlotte Hubbard also completed three ascents, but her overall time was not recorded because organisers had not known in advance that she would do so.
Graham is a visiting consultant working for engineering firm Fairhurst, due to leave the island on 25 January 2013 after a two-week visit. He is a keen mountain biker.
He passed up on the technique used by most Ladder challengers, who use the wide handrails to pull themselves up, and instead pitched forward and placed both his hands and his feet on the steps, as though climbing a fireman’s ladder.
The same approach could be adopted by future runners – especially those with short arms.
In all, 24 people took part in the Ladder Challenge in aid of New Horizons youth centre – many of them members of the organisation. Chairman Derek Richards and his wife Linda joined the climb, as did manager Nick Stevens.
Ten-year-old Josh Benjamin managed the climb in 9 minutes and 28 seconds, six seconds faster than Aiden Yon-Stevens – Nick’s son – who was the youngest challenger, aged just seven.
Every participant was asked to raise at least £5 in sponsorship.
All pictures by Tina Yon-Stevens
Each of the Ladder’s 699 steps is roughly 11 inches high and 11 inches deep, making an incline of about 1:1. But cruelly, it’s much steeper at the top.
There used to be 700 steps. The bottom one is now below ground.
Jacob’s Ladder was originally built as an inclined railway for hauling animal dung and guano out of Jamestown, and to lower fresh produce into the town. Construction was supervised by Lieutenant G W Mellis during the governorship of Brigadier-General Dallas. Trucks were pulled by ropes linked to a capstan, powered by donkeys. The railway fell into ruin when the East India Company lost control of St Helena.
Island children learned to slide down the rails of the ladder, extending their arms along one rail and using their feet to brake against the other. It is said they carried hot food down to soldiers, on their stomachs.
The original Jacob’s Ladder appears in the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. It led to Heaven. The St Helena Jacob’s Ladder leads somewhere else.
Several other places around the world have flights of steps called Jacob’s Ladder. They are found in the UK at Sidmouth, Cheddar Gorge and the iconic Kinder Scout hill, and in Massachusetts (USA), Auckland (New Zealand) and Perth (Australia).
Andrew Gurr, governor from 2007 to 2011, climbed the Ladder regularly. He invited islanders to join him on his hundredth ascent, and many did.
Ladder challenges are staged every two years as the final event in the St Helena Festival of Running. If it was the first event, runners would suffer “ladder legs” and be unable to manage the run up Diana’s Peak.
Records are now kept of the fastest ascent times, but they do not include the results of a challenge staged for the first Governor’s Cup yacht race carnival in 1996. For the record, a yachtie from New Caledonia won a crate of beer for running up in 5 mins, 33 secs. Second place – and no beer – went to the future editor of St Helena Online, with a time of 5 mins 45.12 secs. Chris, a UK half-Saint from Portsmouth, was third in 5.52.
Matty John, a legendary squeezebox player in the mid 20th Century, would climb the Ladder every Saturday night after sessions in the White Horse. Once, near the top, he fell, but was saved when his braces got snagged. He was spotted by an inmate in the prison below, and rescued.
When first-time climbers think they’re half way up the Ladder, they’re not.
Twenty four people took part in the Ladder Challenge on 21 January 2013. With the eight ascents completed by Martin Squibbs and Charlotte Hubbard, the total number of steps climbed was 20,970.
St Helena’s cricket heroes have been presented with their first international caps – donated by an overseas Saint who was inspired by their achievements in South Africa in April 2012.
The caps were handed out on Saturday 3 November 2012 after the first match of the new season – a 40-over game between the national side and a captains’ eleven.
Barbara George, who was a driving force in fund-raising for the South Africa trip, reports that efforts are now being made to build on the island team’s success in its first international tournament, in which it beat several African national squads.
“We’re hoping to get a cricket coach here in the new year with funding from the African Cricket Association, if our bid is accepted, in preparation for our next invitation, and to focus on our youth,” says Barbara.
“Some squad members have regular Saturday morning cricket clinics on Francis Plain with our youth.”
The Saint who donated the caps wishes to remain anonymous.
Media pundits all round the world have been debating the £25 million signing of footballer Robin van Persie – but when the BBC wanted an expert view, it turned to Nick Stevens in St Helena.
And at the end of his down-the-line assessment of the deal, presenter Amanda Davies told him: “You can be my honourary Manchester United fan. I don’t bestow that honour on anyone.”
The Sportsworld Have Your Say programme pulls in a mix of views from fans and professionals around the globe – and an audience of 44 million people.
Nick – who’s broadcast on the programme a number of times, and also writes for The St Helena Independent – was asked for his views on the transfer of Robin van Persie from Arsenal to Manchester United at the age of 29, close to the end of his playing career.
He said: “I don’t think I have been as excited about the signing of a player since Cantona 1992.
“I know it’s not normal signing somebody at that age. Sheringham signed at 31 and we had four seasons from him.
“I think van Persie is a much more prolific striker so he could fit into the team quite nicely.”
Critics doubted whether van Persie could deliver the high scoring rate such a high transfer fee would suggest, but Nick was unconcerned.
“We don’t need him to score 30 goals,” he said, pointing out that the team already had a number of high scorers. “All we need from him is 15 goals, I think, and that will give us a chance to win the season.”
When the time comes to fill the shoes of 37-year-old Paul Scholes, said Nick, Wayne Rooney could take his place – and van Percie could take over Rooney’s current position.
Nick is evidently well-liked by the team at Sportsworld (even if he hasn’t taught them how to pronounce St Helena’s name yet).
Matt Davies, executive producer, said: “Nick has been a regular contributor with his views on Manchester United.
“Nick was a live guest in the Sportsworld studio when he visited London in June 2010.”
“I am not sure if he is our most isolated pundit but we did note in the office this week that he was the one with the shortest phone number. We guess they don’t need many digits in St Helena.”