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Flashback to... 2015

Flashback to... 2015

Friday 27 December 2019

Flashback to... 2015

Friday 27 December 2019


The halfway point of the decade saw islanders stuff themselves with sausage rolls - but even selling one every 30 seconds didn't generate the dough kneaded to keep a new string of budget bakeries open.

Today, our review of the decade reaches 2015, a year that mixed tragedy in the form of the losses of two young men, with immense Pride...

Locally, after five long years of relatively poor economic performance there were indicators that things might be picking up. And there was an air of celebration as the island marked the 70th anniversary of the Liberation, and not only hosted the NatWest Island Games but topped the medals table.

But the year started on a sad note with islanders united in grief with many others around the world after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris on January 7 left 17 dead and 22 others seriously injured.

On January 8 in an act of solidarity a 'Je Suis Charlie' candle lit vigil was staged in the Royal Square. Hundreds gathered to hear speeches from the Bailiff, Sir Michael Birt, Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, and the French consul, David Myatt.

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Pictured: Islanders gathered for a 'Je Suis Charlie' candle lit vigil in the Royal Square.

It was to be one of Sir Michael’s last engagements as Bailiff. Later in the month, William Bailhache was sworn-in and took on the responsibility as the island’s number one citizen. He was to remain in post until the end of the decade. 

The possible consequences of taking illegal drugs were tragically highlighted by the death of 16-year-old Morgan Huelin. He was found unconscious in a Trinity lane by a dog walker early on Sunday 5 July.

He’d been at a party at a nearby house the night before and it was claimed fellow Victoria College students had dragged him there so the home-owners wouldn’t call the police. Murder charges against the five students were dropped in November.

Instead, in 2016, they were tried and convicted of perverting the course of justice, and given a range of sentences from 100 hours community service to being bound over. All five later appealed, with one of them having his sentenced halved to 50 hours. 

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Pictured: Tributes were paid to Morgan Huelin after his death.

In June, Police went public on Operation Whistle – an investigation into claims of historic child abuse in the island – announcing they had 45 suspects (some of whom were deceased or as yet unidentified), 13 people of whom were people of ‘public prominence’ (one of whom was later revealed as former British Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath), and four institutions.

In September, Jersey was bursting with pride as thousands took to the streets in the island’s first ever LGBT+ parade. The march which brought many of St Helier’s main streets to a standstill started at West’s Centre and ended with a rally at the Weighbridge.

A 50m-long rainbow banned was unfurled in Commercial Street. And in September the States approved same-sex marriage in principle and agreed to draft up the necessary legislation no later than January 2017.

In December, it was taxi drivers who were bringing town to a standstill. Angered by changes – including making all cabs wheelchair accessible – that the States were threatening to introduce, the drivers created gridlock by driving in convoy in a loop that took them down Conway Street, Library Place, Church Street, and Mulcaster Street.

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Pictured: Gallichan Marine at St. Aubin burned down in December. (Sean Henstridge)

A mysterious fire gutted Gallichan Marine at St. Aubin in December, and the family of 20-year-old Adrian Lynch were baffled by his disappearance after a taxi dropped him off near his home in St. Lawrence having been to a work’s Christmas party on 5 December.

Experts from Humberside Police came to the island, spending hundreds of hours combing areas of water including Hands Reservoir using high-tech sonar equipment.

Although Police found some items belonging to him, what had actually happened wouldn’t be come clear until half-way through 2016.

What should have been one of the highpoints of the year – the 70th anniversary of the Liberation – almost turned into a fiasco after the Bailiff’s department unilaterally decided to move the event from outside the Pomme d’Or Hotel in Liberation Square to People’s Park. 

Led by Daphne Minihane, hundreds of elderly islanders who’d lived through the Occupation rallied to have the decision reversed. At the eleventh hour a comprise deal was struck with events being staged at both venues.

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Pictured: Police spent hundreds of hours searching areas of water for Adrian Lynch.

But, it also meant almost double the amount of money had to be spent – the bill jumping from £90,000 to £165,000. Sadly, one of those who wasn’t at the celebrations was Emile Boydens – believed to be last surviving forced labourer living in the island – who had died in January aged 95.

Travel blunder of 2015 – and possibly of the decade – must go to Constable Steve Pallett. In July, he found himself in Budapest for the World Dance Championships – the only problem was, he should have been 400 miles away in the Romanian capital, Bucharest.

He put the travel trauma down to an administrative error. But, he wasn’t alone in finding himself in a spot of travel trouble. Also in July, ten Victoria College students and two of their teachers had an extended stay in China because they’d lost their exit visas. The party had to contact the British Embassy to save the situation.

After 18 years, Jersey once again hosted the NatWest Island Games. The hundreds of visiting competitors from around the globe brought a vibrancy to the island reminiscent of when tourism was at its height, with shops, bars and restaurants all reporting increased trade. Rather aptly the Games’ tag line was ‘time to shine’ and the sun obliged as temperatures reached 33C.

Jersey topped the medal table with 50 gold, 53 silver, and 30 bronze. 

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Pictured: Jersey topped the medal table at the Island Games. 

For Wendy Tréhiou, things continued to go swimmingly in 2015. In August after more than 24 hours in the water she reached St. Helier Harbour becoming the first person to swim the 36 miles from Saint Malo. Earlier in the decade she’d become the first Channel Islander to complete a two-way non-stop English Channel swim.

Also in August it was fifth time lucky for another Jersey swimmer. Neil Faudemer finally achieved a long-held dream to swim from Guernsey to Jersey. It took him 14 hours 57 minutes, 18 minutes faster than the only other person to have accomplished the swim, Ruth Oldham, in 1962.

But, things were not going so smoothly for Condor. Despite relaunching their image with a new tagline, ‘Good Times’, commissioning a much talked about rap safety video, and replacing the aged Vitesse and Express, with what was claimed to be a new state-of-the-art vessel, the Liberation, a string of accidents, breakdowns and delays continued to disrupt sailings.

On just its second day on the route the Liberation have to be taken out of service for a week having struck the quay in St. Peter Port. It took an independently commissioned report to quash rumours the boat wasn’t safe or suitable for the route.

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Pictured: The Liberation crashed just its second day of service.

A lifetime dream came true for 90-year-old former Beaulieu School headmistress Sister Marie Louise in March when she travelled with school’s chamber choir to Rome and met Pope Francis.

And former Grouville School, and Victoria College pupil, 22-year-old Jonny Labey announced he’d landed a star role in the BBC soap 'Eastenders'. In all, he was to appear in more than 100 episodes, playing Paul Coker, before being killed off in a homophobic attack in September 2016.

As ever we said ‘goodbye’ to a number of notable islanders in 2015.

Reg Jeune – who’d been a States member for more than 35 years, and had served as both a deputy and senator – died aged 94 in April. As Education president he’d overseen the acquisition of Highlands College, and as Finance and Economics president had helped develop the island’s finance industry to the point it’s alleged he once claimed we ‘had money coming out of our ears’.

He was also a founding father of the law firm Mourant, de Feu and Jeune, later restricted as Mourant Ozannes. In 1995 he was made a CBE.

Another States member who passed away, but was probably better known for running the ‘all items’ Red Triangle Store (the shop of 1001 things) in the central market, and his involvement with local amateur dramatics and charities, was John Farley. He was 86.

John served as a deputy for St. Helier six years, was involved with Jersey Cancer Relief for 15 years, the Lions Club for 40 years, and more than 60 years with the Jersey Battle of Flowers, and running his shop. In 2014 he’d been appointed an MBE for services to local charities and organisations.

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Pictured: Mitch Couriard was the face of the honorary police.

Two other community stalwarts who’d also been honoured by the queen who died in 2015 were Mitch Couriard and Colin Taylor. Mitch was very much the face of the honorary police and had been seen at almost every public event in the island for more than twenty years. He was 61 and had become an MBE in 2002.

Hundreds of officers – both honorary and States – joined islanders to see him off as his coffin left the Town Church.

And Colin Taylor who’d campaigned to raise awareness and money for homeless men, died aged 62 in March. Special arrangements had been made the month before for him to receive his British Empire Medal at Government House because he was too ill to travel to Buckingham Palace.

The island also said ‘hello and goodbye’ to Greggs. Having claimed record sales of a more than 1,000 sausage rolls on its first day – on average one every thirty seconds – when it opened its first shop in Halkett Street at the beginning of the year, two more shops opened in quick succession, at Red Houses and Colomberie. 

But, by October the Colomberie franchise closed, with the others closing in 2016, the company blaming ‘limited success’ in the island.

Read Express tomorrow for the 2016 round-up... And, in the meantime, catch up on...

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