Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dressing up

Last month 'Anonymous' commented, a propos of the fining of 2 Parish Deputies, and the absence of any public comments from the Town Hall about it, "Its all very well dressing up in the fancy red gown but your job has its unpleasant duties too." Well, thanks for that - who would have guessed that the constable's job is not entirely a bed of roses!

Actually there're loads of pleasant duties involved in my job, but dressing up is not one of them, especially for the pilgrimage from the Town Church to the Hermitage beyond Elizabeth Castle which this year takes place on Sunday 19th July. The St Helier pilgrimage is quite short, as pilgrimages go, and takes about half an hour depending on how fast you walk. But if you have to dress up in heavy robes, as a lot of the pilgrims do, it is quite hard work. The members of the Church wear their cassocks, and the Dean of Jersey who leads the procession through town and out across the causeway to the Castle, has to don his ornate surplice. I am expected to wear the red robe that has been worn by St Helier constables for about a century, together with the chain of office made of gold – these are quite heavy too, on top of a suit – and I’m sure I’m not the only constable who has asked himself why we celebrate the life of St Helier in the middle of the summer!

Then there's Minden Day, which this year takes place on Sunday 2nd August, and commemorates the 250th Anniversary of the Battle of Minden - it's usually pretty baking hot for that one, too, which takes place, surprisingly enough, in Minden Place.

Most of other occasions when I wear the robe and chain of office centre on ceremonies for past and serving members of the armed forces at the Cenotaph. Several - the D Day ceremony, Armed Forces Day, the launch of the Poppy Appeal, and Remembrance Sunday - are followed by a reception in the Assembly Room, and we also host receptions for visiting regiments and crews of naval vessels. On such occasions I am happy to take the extra trouble to dress up out of respect for the servicemen and women who are present, and feel that it's a privilege to meet them, to listen to their stories and to acknowledge their courage and spirit of self-sacrifice.


voiceforchildren said...


You said "and feel that it's a privilege to meet them, to listen to their stories and to acknowledge their courage and spirit of self-sacrifice".

Will you stretch that commitment to the survivors of child abuse and walk with them from People's Park to the Royal Square on Saturday the 4th of July at midday?

The abuse survivors might not have fought soldiers on battlefields and in many people's eyes might not be heroes.

The truth is many of the survivors have either come close to death, or wished they were dead to escape the horriffic atrocities inflicted upon them by their abusers.

Every day they are on, or in, a battlefield trying to get justice through the Jersey legal system and it is a lifetime battle.

In my eyes they are heroes. Heroes that need support from their elected officials and recognition.

I hope you can show them your support on the 4th of July and hope you might be able to convince some of your colleagues in the States to do the same.

TonyTheProf said...

Interesting insight into the background behind youre wearing the robes.

Of course the clergy can dress very lightly beneath their cassocks - they can even wear a t-shirt and shorts. And I've known some who have! You are more unlucky with your gown!

Do you know who introduce the gown and chain of office?

Anonymous said...

Do you think there may be a time when more "modernising" of occasions when the robes are worn takes place? Like the speaker in the house of commons, who has been gradually discarding the apparal of the 17th century in favour of moden clothes.

Save The Trees! said...

I've just watched the local TV news and saw with horror that they're planning to chop down some mature healthy oak trees at People's Park just because of some poisonous caterpillars - surely there must be a better solution?

Even if they only chop the affected branches off and 'pollard' the trees, that's better than felling them surely? PLEASE SAVE THE TREES!

Anonymous said...

sanctimonious hypocrits - perhaps if they showed more care and compassion and support for the survivors in the battlefield of abuse perhaps the Church and their robes would be more thought of. Shame on those elected states members who show compassion only when it is "OK'd" by the establishment.

Perhaps it's time more States members came out of the closet instead of hiding behind the fancy dress of the AG.

No disrespect to our Soldiers my annoyance is with those who are failing the abused of Jersey, those whose lives have been damaged by the henious crimes they were subjected to and the further crimes being bestowed on them today by those responsible for the gross failure of the Judicial system in Jersey.

voiceforchildren said...


You have a very interesting questioned tabled in the Stetes regarding, what I believe to be, the illegal suspension of Graham Power.

Could I ask you might give us a Blog on your thoughts and opinions of his suspension and perhaps a few words on Bill Ogley shredding his hand written notes?

voiceforchildren said...


My last comment was a geniune request.

Anonymous said...

What price St Helier regeneration now that the Waterfront Esplanade Quarter is a dead duck Simon?

There is a posting on voiceforprotest on this subject - why not comment and let the people know what you propose to do?