Four Islanders receive New Year Honours
FOUR Islanders are among hundreds of people across the British Isles to receive New Year Honours.
Services to the community may sound a rather vague area of impact for someone who has been made an OBE but, in the case of Jurat Geoffrey Grime, it is just as well that the honour covers such a broad landscape.
The accountant, who arrived in Jersey in 1969 to work at Coopers & Lybrand intending to stay for only two years, has been an influential figure in the finance industry, in the arts, in charitable work for prostate cancer and in the church, to name just a few of his areas of interest.
He also served a term as Deputy of St Mary and has been a Jurat for four and a half years.
Although he reached the Jurats’ retirement age of 72 earlier this year, he can still be called in for occasional court work for the next three years and he is also involved in several family trusts.
‘It keeps me busy and out of mischief,’ he says with a smile.
Of all his achievements, the one that has given him most satisfaction was the setting up of Jersey Finance, the body that promotes the Island’s finance industry across the world. It came about in a way that typifies his attitude to life.
At a dinner, sitting between the-then Senator Frank Walker and Richard Pratt, director of the Financial Services Commission, the conversation turned to the Edwards report into Jersey’s finance industry. It had argued that it was wrong for the regulation and promotion of the finance industry to lie with the one body – the commission.
‘I had been out of a job for three months so I said “why don’t I just set up a company to promote the finance industry”?’
From that casual conversation, Jersey Finance was born.
‘It’s going from strength to strength and to me that’s possibly the most important thing I’ve done and the one that gave me great personal satisfaction as well,’ he said.
Upon his retirement in 1999, it is unsurprising that he became conscious of gaps in his diary. In early 1970, he started his professional life with a part-time secretary but, 29 years later, he was responsible for 450 staff, 60 of whom were based in Guernsey. He would make 40-odd business trips a year. ‘After I’d made my 50th visit to Nairobi, I stopped counting,’ he said.
Jurat Grime served only a single term in the States, having contracted prostate cancer which forced him to reappraise the situation but the setback led to his involvement in setting up the Macmillan Prostate Cancer Support Group, which has championed not just the interests of sufferers but also the importance of testing for early detection of the illness. The group received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for its efforts.
He was treasurer of the Jersey Arts Council when it opened the Jersey Arts Centre in the early 1980s, treasurer of St Peter’s Church Trust Fund and the Jersey branch of the British Heart Foundation. He chairs the English charity to educate refugees – the Hugh Pilkington Trust – and helped to establish the Jersey Institute of Law. He remains on the Deanery Synod, having helped former Bailiff Sir William Bailhache in the overhaul of Jersey Canon Law.
When Stuart Mourant once attended a funeral in St Brelade, a fellow mourner asked him why he thought so many people had turned up to the parish church.
The answer was simple, he said. The deceased was ‘part of the Les Amis family’ and all the family members had turned out en masse to mark the sad occasion.
Of course, none of that ‘family’ would have been there without Mr Mourant who has been made an MBE for his services to the community as former chairman of both Les Amis – the charity which provides residential and respite care for those with learning difficulties – and Jersey Mencap.
Mr Mourant does not have to think for very long to come up with the highlight of his association with Les Amis. Only a few years ago, it was on the brink of folding.
‘It was just before Christmas when the treasurer came in and wanted Les Amis to go en désastre because we were owed money by Public Health. He wanted me to sign all the papers there and then.
‘But I said “no, I’m not doing that now and making all those people so unhappy just before Christmas” so we waited until the new year and things were eventually sorted out,’ he said.
Having displayed such steely determination that day, he can now look back with great satisfaction at the organisation which is in rude health, partly as a result of his role is establishing a company alongside the charity to manage the day-to-day affairs and employ the 200 staff.
His involvement in the two charities stems from his own family experience. He has a granddaughter with Downs Syndrome and has derived enormous pleasure and satisfaction from a relationship with her. ‘What you put in, you get back,’ he said.
‘There are many people for whom everything seems rosy but things can’t always be rosy, so you have to do something about it.’
Mr Mourant’s work with Jersey Mencap began almost 30 years ago as a committee member before he became chairman. He became involved in Les Amis, and is still a trustee of the charity to which the operating company is ultimately accountable.
When Frank Laine discovered he had become an MBE because of his services to the community at the Shelter Trust and Silkworth Lodge, he was surprised he should have come to the notice of those recommending the award.
‘I have tried to keep a low profile, so I was very surprised that they had found out as much as they had about me. It was quite extraordinary when I found out,’ he said.
Jumping into the icy waters of St Brelade’s Bay in February this year to help save the life of a swimmer in distress – an act for which he received the Jersey Humane Society’s medal – will not have helped him maintain that discrete profile.
Yet it is for the impact that he has made on scores of Islanders struggling on dry land that he has been recognised. As the owner of a construction firm, he had direct experience of workers who, having made a vital contribution to the bricks and mortar of the Island, would suddenly find themselves without work or support in the community.
Before unemployment benefits were introduced, and dependent on the support of the parish, they were often ill-equipped to look after their daily needs.
Mr Laine established the Shelter Trust, using his professional experience and contacts within the States of Jersey, to source funding and a series of buildings that would provide a roof over the heads of those in need. Renovating old properties and building new facilities, he developed a progressively stronger support network.
He also worked with the police to build a unit for those picked up drunk and disorderly for whom the remedy of being locked up simply did not work. The majority of those using the Shelter had addiction problems so, in 1994, Mr Laine established the Silkworth charity that provides treatment and support for those with drug and alcohol dependency.
In 2002 they opened Silkworth Lodge to foster the abstinence model that would support individuals – ‘extraordinary, tough people who do most of the work themselves,’ Mr Laine said with conviction – to review and accept their past, and open a new chapter in their lives.
Mr Laine recalls the impact of seeing a small child – a three-year-old who had regularly witnessed the chaos of his mother’s daily life as an alcoholic – with his mother at Silkworth.
‘One day, when he felt safe at Silkworth, the little fellow told his mother how he felt, seeing her at night when he thought she was going to die. It was that which sobered her up,’ he recalls.
The people who Mr Laine has helped are, in his own words, ‘not bad people wanting to become good but sick people looking to get better’. Some of those whose lives have been turned around have returned to work at Silkworth where the organisation has secured recognition under the Investment in People programme.
‘You can’t simply look after the clients and abandon the staff. We’ve got to make sure that they are in good order as well. You can’t help people if you’ve got problems of your own,’ he said.
Jersey netball star Serena Guthrie has been made an MBE.
The 29-year-old has received many accolades over recent years and has enjoyed huge success in the game.
She was an influential contributor to England's gold medal successes at the 2017 Fast5 Netball World Series and 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Ms Guthrie was appointed captain of the team for the series against Uganda in November 2018 and was also granted the honour of captain for the Roses' 2019 Netball World Cup campaign.
Fellow netball star Joanne Harten was also made an MBE.
In an Instagram post, Ms Guthrie said: 'A true honour to be recognised as an MBE. Thanks to everyone who sent out their congratulations. Even cooler to be receiving it with ma right hand gal @joharten. Feeling like one lucky netballer who's had one hell of a journey.'
The honour was not among those announced locally by Government House.
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