Comfort and sorrow
I was being interviewed by a journalist from the Daily Mail earlier this week in the wake of the sad events that have befallen our Island, and as I described the outpouring of sympathy, the work of our emergency services and volunteers and the Island-wide offers of help, it struck me that the often used phrase, ‘community spirit’, just doesn’t do justice to the range and extent of support that has been extended to those affected by these twin tragedies.
The Scene at the Town Hall
A week ago the Town Hall’s Assembly Room, decked festively for a Christmas Lunch for our senior citizens on the following day, was the scene of some very moving accounts from those residents of Haut du Mont flats on Pier Road who had been evacuated from their homes following the explosion. They were cared for with sensitivity and professionalism by the staff of Andium Homes who worked throughout the day to provide emergency accommodation for those who needed to be rehoused, so that by mid-afternoon all of those displaced had been taken to a new home, and provided with clothes and the other necessities.
A Joint Effort
Community and Family Liaison Officers from the States of Jersey Police were on hand, assisted by St John Ambulance volunteers, Town Hall staff and members of the Island’s clergy, to lend their support, while members of the public and local businesses offered to help in any way they could. In freezing weather the Parish’s Honorary Police, assisted by officers from other parishes, put a cordon in place that was to last for several days, including shifts throughout the first few nights after the disaster; the officers were touched by the generosity of local residents and businesses who provided them with hot drinks and food.
Fishing Boat Tragedy
The sinking of a local fishing boat with the loss of its three crew has also affected Islanders deeply, especially the family and friends of the victims. We are a seafaring Island with a long history of making a living from the sea and making journeys across it, and we are indebted to our two lifeboat organisations and to our maritime authorities for their support.