Published in the Jersey Evening Post – Tuesday 13th February 2018
When you stick you head above the parapet and take up an occupation in the public eye one of the biggest risks is that you start believing in your own self-importance. The power or attention becomes such a drug that you lose sight of why you took on the job in the first place. I’ve seen many politicians develop the “don’t you know who I am” syndrome. The ironic thing is that by the time they reach this stage they don’t actually know who they are anymore!
As Chairman of the Jersey Lifeboat Association (JLA) I am in the limelight as I am also the spokesman. Yet the reality is that there are numerous unsung heroes behind the scenes, dedicating many more hours to the new charity than I can, and achieving the impossible.
When the RNLI raised the prospect of setting up an Independent Lifeboat, during negotiations with the St Helier Crew, there would have been little comprehension amongst the crew of the enormity of the task ahead. Albeit they did have the RNLI’s offer of support.
To build a Charity from scratch is an enormous task and fortunately the JLA has a very large bank of volunteers behind the scenes. The public have not seen much yet because strong foundations are being laid and there is a massive amount of paperwork. We have received support from all walks of life and it is encouraging that we live in a society where so many people will roll up their sleeves for a good cause – it says a lot about our island. On the fundraising side we have at least 12 ex RNLI Ladies Guild Members on our team and these fantastic volunteers have an amazing combined total of over 200 years history of lifeboat fundraising.
The next step is to speak with various bodies and ascertain how we can achieve our ambitions. We have offered to visit Poole to have a constructive meeting with the RNLI, and meetings with all other key people are slowly being arranged.
Rather disappointingly we have received a very negative letter from the Jersey Government, signed by the Chief Minister. This is not a problem as it is preferable to know where people stand on issues at the outset than be misled, and we shall endeavour to convert our political leaders. I am proud to be the spokesman and I am sure that the JLA will live up to the public’s expectations.