Having had his social and football life destroyed by the Islander and heaviest drinking on Monday and Tuesday nights reduced to milkshakes, Stephen Fowler deserves a huge thankyou. I would say how many Islanders Stephen has edited but the stack looked so huge it defeated me.
I'm sure Stephen's issues brightened many lives with colour front pages and wonderful write-ups. Round of applause, seal of approval, we love you lots. THANK YOU STEVE.
The Islander is now edited by a team of editorial volunteers.
Page 12 - The Islander - Thursday 27th August 1998
The Edinburgh University students have now come to the end of their seven week visit here on Ascension. It may surprise some people that we have actually done some work! Out of the ten endemic species of plants we set out to find, we have recorded six. The remaining four have not been seen since 1889 so we were not disheartened not to find them. Our work here has been to find these plants, map their distribution , and to gather baseline ecological information on their habitats and associate plant species.
First of all we must apologise for using the latin names, but there are no common names for the plants we nave been studying. Asplenium ascensionis is a fern which occurs in many areas on Green Mountain where it thrives in damp rock crevices. Sporobolus caespitosus is a grass which also occurs on rock faces on the mountain, however the populations of these are rather small. The tiny fern Xiphopteris ascesionense grows from clumps of moss on bamboo and cliff faces on Green Mountain. The largest of the endemic ferns is Marattia purpurascens found amongst the bamboo at Dew Pond and the weatherside of the mountain.
The other two plants which are not pictured are Pteris adscensionis, another fern and Euphorbia origanoides a small shrub which can be seen clearly whilst walking across the Wideawake Fairs. Most of the plant populations are stable, though they are under threat because introduced plant species are invading their habitats and forcing them into smaller and smaller areas. Other threats include damage by grazing animals, erosion and loss of suitable habitats.
Hopefully, our work will contribute to the conservation of the Island as the data we provide can be used for future management strategies. Copies of our report will be distributed throughout the Island within the next six months.
BIG THANK YOU TO ASCENSION ISLAND
We have been here for nearly seven weeks and we have made many friends on the island that we would like to thank for their support and encouragement. David, Melanie and Lion Henry for their hospitality and introduction to Tanquery; Betty Joshua, Sandra Bendal, and all of the children who participated in the events we organised with the school; The Huxleys, Graham Avis, AIS, RAF, USAF and BBC for helping us to get here, get settled in and granting permission to tramp round the island looking for endemic plants; Johnny Hobson and the Scout group for the loan of their unique landrover; Cable and Wireless for getting us hooked up with email; Squadron Leader Adrian Hayward for providing as with aerial photographs and taking us on a boat tour to Boatswain Bird Island; Paul Owen, David Locksmith and the crew of the Maersk for an amusing adventure with a rope ladder; Donald Arms and his family for many pleasant evenings at Two Boats Club-our home from home; Jeff Stephenson et al for their company on many of the aforementioned evenings at the club; The Gray family for their hospitality.. Everyone at "The Islander" for making us famous and finally to all of the gentlemen at the Volcano Club for their perseverance- better luck next time!
Page 19 - The Islander - Thursday 27th August 1998
FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR'S DESK
Its nice to be back. And Niddy and I quickly got back into the swing of things at Fiona and Freddie Bennett's superb Silver Wedding party the day after our arrival. Their son Paul made a very accomplished and witty speech and the food, "refreshments" and company were all of the highest order.
The weather in the UK was not too good. But I wasn't allowed to savour it much because Niddy kept me hard at work stripping generations of wall-paper, decorating and gardening. But a very refreshing change, nonetheless.
I made some business trips to the FCO in London. Whilst there is a lot quietly happening (the White Paper on Overseas Territories (including the citizenship question) and the future of Ascension itself), I cannot, yet, report back to you until British Ministers have finally decided. And, of course, we are now in the middle of the parliamentary summer recess. But by early autumn much should be resolved. I can assure my Saint friends, however, that everyone I met in London supports their citizenship cause.
Whilst in London I dealt with two non-political bits of business. The first concerned our environment. As many of you know we have developed a conservation management plan for the island to try and safeguard our unique environment. It was circulated around the island in near final draft form to quite a few people. But if anyone else would like to study it, please let me know. The plan should be published quite soon and it will be our blue print for a conservation policy.
I also called on the Maersk Company at Canary Wharf and presented Captain Graham Westgarth, the General Manager of the Shipping Division, the philatelic artist's design depicting the Maersk Ascension which was of the "Flag" stamps we issued last year. And in return, quite unexpectedly, to commemorate the ship's 15-year stay at Ascension, Captain Westgarth presented the Heritage Society with £5,000 to equip and furnish the archives building being built by AIS and the Royal Engineers. This paid for with a donation of £15,500 from the FCO.
Talking of stamps! I was grateful to Phil Attley in last weeks Islander for his comments on our recent Island Sports issue. If Phil would like to emerge from the security of his/her nom-de-plume, I shall willingly appoint him/her to the philatelic committee. It is not easy to come up with bright ideas all the time for five issues each year. And my regular requests for suggestions largely go unanswered. So an extra volunteer would be very welcome, Two further points apropos Phil's letter: HM the Queen personally approves all designs and one of the many rules is that apart from the Queen herself and members of the. Royal Family, no living person may be depicted on British and British Overseas Territories' stamps., and in general, stamp collectors around the world do not favour scenery-type stamps (our biggest ever flop was "Our scenes of old Ascension" issue three years ago). This said, I am sure everyone will like our Christmas issue inspired by Theresa Corker- Coleman. It shows festive activities on the island.
Whilst home Niddy and I contacted some of the Saint medical patients in the UK. We were horrified to hear that one of the CSR patients was forced to pay his own accommodation out of his dwindling savings. I found that intolerable and hope that the United States authorities will relent on this penny-pinching policy. We also identified a crying lack of a support group in the UK of people who could visit and support patients - all so far from home and their friends. When I retire next year I hope to establish just such a group.
A lot of readers have complained to me about the new AIS freight-shipment rules. I am investigating. But I am not sure there is much I can do to change things. AIS management makes its own policy - and what AIS has done - so I am told - is to implement Curnow's long extant policies. As long as AIS is not breaking any laws (and the company is not), then it must make its own commercial decisions. Notwithstanding this, 1 have passed all complaints on to AIS senior management and left them in no doubt as to the intensity of feeling over the new rules.
Did you know there is (or was) an Ascension Island song! A lady in Dundee has kindly forwarded to the Heritage Society a selection of memorabilia belonging to her deceased cousin, Mrs. James Pollock who was resident here from 1947-50, Among the papers is a note which said that when people left the. Island on the completion of their tours, their friends would gather on the pier and sing "Will ye no come back again" and the Ascension song, which went as follows:
"Twas only an old Bass bottle
Came floating down to me,
Inside there was a message -
These words are written on
Whoever finds this bottle
Will find the beer all gone.
Razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle, zing boom bah,
Ascension, Ascension, Rah Rah Rah!"
(Oh well. It takes all types.....).
Finally, Nathan Prince has kindly produced an Administrator's web-site for me on the Internet.
I hope it will go "live" within the next few days (once Cable & Wireless have done the necessary).
R C Huxley
Page 23 - The Islander - Thursday 27th August 1998
The 93 Course Pass Out Parade took place at RAF Halton on Tuesday 18th August. Amongst the eighty or so graduating recruits were Julie Arms and Tina Thomas, the first ever St. Helenians recruited in the South Atlantic to successfully qualify into the Royal Air Force. Julie is the daughter of Donald and Wendy Arms of Two Boats and Tina the daughter of Cyril and Patsy Thomas of Georgetown.
It was a beautiful sunny day and the green wooded hills of the Buckinghamshire countryside formed a scenic backdrop to the parade ground.
The ceremony was immaculately performed, the recruits smart and proud in their No.1 set the scene and the parade was honoured by the presence of Air Chief Marshall Sir John Cheshire as the Reviewing Officer.
The marching and drill was to a high standard drawing applause from the audience of parents and friends, and considering the course was only 7 weeks long, was a tribute to both the recruits and the RAF instructors.
Donald and Wendy Arms travelled from Ascension with Julie's sister, Lisa as did Paul Herne, Tina's boyfriend, to be present at the passing out parade. After the parade there was a social gathering, time for photographs and talk.
During the course the recruits were taught the basic principles of ground defence, including first aid, fire fighting and military fighting skills. Much emphasis was placed on physical fitness and health education, the virtues of self discipline and teamwork, and of course Royal Air Force culture.
Julie is now proceeding to further training in telecommunications and Tina to training in personnel administration.
Many congratulations to Julie and Tina on their achievement in passing this tough and arduous course and we wish them further successes in their Royal Air Force Careers.
- Report submitted by Peter Spiers (Donald and Wendy's brother in law).
Last updated: 01/10/98
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