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St Helena Online

The St Helena report and the gap in media

In pictures: island people and events, by Andrew Gurr

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St Helena is rich in interesting personalities. And occasionally, the island asserts its own personality – as it did when rocks tumbled down on the Baptist chapel. Andrew Gurr captured much of the island’s life and people on camera during four years as governor. Here he shares a third selection of images he showed at an address to the Friends of St Helena.

Rodney Young and Andrew Greentree are both Saints who became captains of the RMS St Helena. “Very serious-looking,” says Andrew. “You’d think there was going to be a disaster.”

St Helena received a visit from a high-level delegation of French visitors, at the invitation of Michel Dancoise-Martineau, custodian of the Napoleonic properties on the island. “That person there, on the left, is a direct-line descendant of Napoleon, Count Walewska. He’s a lovely man, and I made the mistake of asking where he lives. He had about ten houses.”

The cricket team has done very well recently,” says Andrew. “That’s something I miss, going to watch them.”

Outside Sandy Bay chapel. “That dog used to come and sit outside the chapel every Sunday, but I caught him on a weeknight, sitting outside the pub.”

In August 2008, there was a serious rock-fall in Jamestown. No one was injured, though a car was crushed only moments after its occupants had walked away from it. The Baptist Chapel suffered severe damage. “A terrible mess.”

The Baptist Manse was also badly damaged. “Imagine if you’d been in there at the time.”

The RMS Queen Mary 2, photographed from Upper Jamestown.

And again, off Tristan da Cunha, where Andrew was paying an official visit as governor, having travelled aboard the RMS St Helena. “The only two RMS ships in the world, together.”

An unusual lunch party, overlooking the site of the proposed Wirebird Hills eco resort. “That was Christmas Day, with the public solicitor and his wife and the vet – sitting on top of his Land Rover, for some reason. We went and had Christmas lunch up there and made rude noises at all the traffic that went by, and people couldn’t believe their eyes.”

“High days and holidays: processions were a real highlight. There’s the bishop (John Salt) enjoying himself.

Early morning light at the end of the Governor’s Cup yacht race. “As governor one goes out there and this yacht comes over the horizon.” An American boat was first to cross the line (below).

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