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Thursday, 30 June 2011

"Goodbye Governor - And Good Riddance"


Lieutenant Governor has left the island today after five action-packed years in office.

Newly knighted Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Ridgway and Lady Ridgway were addressed at a special States sitting this morning where Chief Minister Terry le Sueur paid tribute to the military man's service to the island.

After the meeting, His Excellency and Lady Ridgway were received by a Fanfare and a Guard of Honour in the Royal Square where around 200 islanders gathered to show their gratitude and to say goodbye to the popular Governor.

Sir Andew told us in a special interview that he will be very sad to leave the island, and he and his wife will be "leaving a big chunk of their hearts here".

In keeping with the couple's down to earth style, they chose to take the ferry back to the UK, where they will return to their Devon home.

Sir Andrew Ridgway's successor, General Sir John McColl arrives in the island in September to take up his appointment.

Our reporter Iselin Vale spoke to the Governor in a farewell interview about his memories of his time in the island and how proud he has been to be here. He also revealed how much he will miss Jersey.

In his address to the States he expressed his thanks to States members, the staff at Government House, his wife Lady Ridgway, and the local community.

As part of his role he has regularly attended States meetings but the nature of the Governor's position means he is only able to express political views in the Chamber at his arrival and on leaving the position.

He reflected on the coming and going of old and new States members, recalling that his welcome address in 2006 was given by the then Senator Stuart Syvret. Haut de la Garenne, he said, had been a tough challenge during his term in office, when it became clear that a number of islanders had been subject to terrible abuse. The focus, he said, should have been on caring for those people and prosecuting the perpetrators.

Instead, he said, some people used it for their own political gain, creating fictional scenarios of child murder and the like, which in turn made its way around the world through the media, as a result diverting attention away from the real priority of caring for the abused.

He complimented the island's handling of the economic downturn, in that the island was now emerging from the recession debt free - credit to sound financial management.

He also had a word of caution for States members when it came to Governmental Reform. He said debate on the topic had not been the Assembly's "finest hour", and suggested in military terms, that members had been preoccupied with "tactical issues rather than strategy".

He also suggested there was some confusion about the role of the States, as to whether or not the Assembly made up the legislature or the executive, and said it was vitally important to get that role defined.

He spoke passionately about improving working practices in the Assembly, and suggested that common courtesy between members would help significantly - advising those who regularly stand to speak in derogatory and demeaning ways to sit down and think again.

After expressing his gratitude to the whole island community for having made both him and Lady Ridgway feel so welcome he concluded: "We will never forget our time in Jersey- a true gem of the sea."

Here is our full interview:

Iselin Vale: First of all Sir Andrew and Lady Ridgway - congratulations again on your knighthood - it must be a wonderful way to top off your term in Jersey?

Sir Andrew: Well it was indeed, it was a very nice surprise, a very welcome surprise, but yes as you say a very good time to come and we much enjoyed the announcement at the Queen's birthday reception here and it was fun.

Iselin Vale: I'm sure it will count amongst the highlights of your time here - that aside, what else would you say are some of the key moments or memories you'll be taking with you when you leave?

Sir Andrew: I think the Royal wedding was a great day; representing Jersey, it was a memorable experience. Not just what happened inside but the Abbey but the whole atmosphere in London was extraordinary and so I shall always remember that. But we've had some great memories here. I think the Battle of Flowers is a good one, we enjoy that, not just the day but the night before, going round to the sheds and seeing the extraordinary work going on and seeing them and thinking you're never ever gonna get that ready and then lo and behold it is, all done.

Iselin Vale: What about you Lady Ridgway? Any other memories that you'd like to add?

Lady Ridgway: I love the swimarathon, I think that is a great event, and it just lets you know how the whole island comes together, and everybody has something to do with the event. And the money raised for it is just amazing, and then goes to such worthy causes. So that, I really enjoy that.

Sir Andrew: And you like the art exhibitions...

Lady Ridgway: Oh yes, all the art exhibitions, and in particular the one from the prison. The Inside Out that now have the prisoners are allowed to exhibit. They exhibit and they now have it as an annual event. And they get some money back from what they sell and some of it goes to art in the frame. And it's amazing to see the talent that the prisoners have got and they weren't aware of it until they started having art classes and what have you. But it's all things they do, they do window boxes, garden furniture, it's amazing. Good work goes on there.

Iselin Vale: And the bobsleigh team of course, we mustn't forget them, they've been one of your great passions whilst you've been here. What is it about this sport and this team that's enthused you so much?

Sir Andrew: Well I think when we arrived we discovered that sports facilities in the island are fantastic, and the sporting talent here is huge. I'm sure next week [this week's Island Games] they'll be demonstrating just how good they all are.

And it seemed to me that you could take part in just about every sport, except one, and there was no opportunity for bobsleigh and so we thought we'd just for fun have a team and lo and behold there was some real talent in amongst those who took part and now Jersey boys are competing for Great Britain and there's a real prospect that they could go to the Olympics. And I think that would be terrific fun I think the island would enjoy having someone driving a bobsleigh. And they've done really, really well, all of them, not just Will Golder and Kevin Crowther, all the team and in particular John Hamilton who runs it all and I think it will be good.

Iselin Vale: And undoubtedly you'll be keeping an eye on them even when you're off the island?

Sir Andrew: Yes. Well I run the British team so I'll be keeping a very close eye on them and making sure they get all the support they need. And there is financial support available in the UK once you are a real prospect for a medal. And so what we've got to do is raise the funds to get them to that point so that they can qualify for UK sport funding and I'm very optimistic we can do all of that.

Iselin Vale: You first took office in June 2006. Since then you've both earnt a lot of affection from islanders - how much has the island and it's people come to mean to you?

Lady Ridgway: Well it's part of our life, and you know it's incredible....just so welcoming and friendly, so yeah I'll be very sad.

Sir Andrew: People have often said to us well five years must have gone really quickly, and my answer is yes it has on the one hand but on the other we feel like we've lived here forever. And the reason for that is that we were made so welcome right from the start and that's been the case all the way through and the people couldn't have been more friendly and more welcoming and we've made a lot of friends here and we look forward to keeping in touch with them and the island, and we'll certainly be watching what's going on, in the election and everything else. It's a part of our lives now and when we depart the island we shall be leaving a very big chunk of our hearts here.

Iselin Vale: Have you ever considered staying here?

Lady Ridgway: No, we haven't really, because we couldn't afford to!

Sir Andrew: We wouldn't have a housing qualification for a start! And then I suspect wouldn't be able to afford to buy something like we have in Devon here. But we're only a 100 miles away and so we'll be looking forward to coming back after a reasonable period, very important we let the new people settle in and the last thing they want is the old team hanging around so keep out of the way for a bit, but as soon as we can we'll be back.

Iselin Vale: Now you mentioned Devon there, what will you be doing next?

Sir Andrew: Well, we've got a lovely house in Devon and we'll go and live there. But I plan to carry on working and I've got a number of irons in the fire, one is non-executive work, and I shall be doing a bit of intelligence work in London and also of course running the Bobsleigh team, keeps me very busy as it is without anything else...

Lady Ridgway: For me I'm going to become a lady of leisure and pleasure!

Iselin: Sounds lovely!

Sir Andrew: "So no change really! (Laughing). No, but you'll be keeping involved in charitable work.

Lady Ridgway: Yes, I will settle down and then I will get involved with charity or see how the charities are run compared to Jersey back in Devon and hopefully get involved with that. And just go back to being a housewife and a mother and a grandmother.

Iselin Vale: Now, Sir John McColl is set to fill your shoes in September- do you have any advise for him?

Sir Andrew: I think just to throw yourself into it, I mean there is no point coming unless you're going to take part in everything. And there's an awful lot to take part in. But we know them well, we served together in Bosnia, he was Batallion Commander in my Brigade, Lady McColl was one of Valerie's wives in the garrison in Germany and so on and I think they'll be absolutely fine and I'm sure they'll play a full part in everything.

Yes, and really all I would say is that, and I'm sure they will be, is just be yourself and that's all there is to it really.

Iselin Vale: What will you both miss the most about Jersey?

Sir Andrew: Well I tell you the thing we won't miss is never knowing if you're going to get off the island or not whether the fog or the snow or the volcanic ash is stopping you getting to things- so it'll be much easier just to get in the car. Won't miss the green lanes, although, oh, yes actually in Devon they're pretty much the same. But no, I think one of the perhaps big things that became clear to us and that we didn't' appreciate fully when we came was the extent of the community spirit here. The way the community has a responsibility and takes responsibility for itself, the terrific charitable sector and the way people are prepared to commit themselves to so much.

I mean you have these wonderful youth organisations here, whether it's sea cadets, air cadets, scouts, guides, boys, girls brigade, and they are not just organisations, they are the best. I mean they compete right at the top in the UK and there's only one reason they can do that and that's because the adults that give up their time, huge amounts of time, to run these organisations, to give their children, the children of the island, these terrific opportunities and I don't think you have that everywhere.

I mean it's interesting that Prime Minister Cameron has been trying to explain to people in the UK what he means by this big society of his, well actually all he needs to do is come and look here because it's alive and well and I think what happens in Jersey is what he has in mind to happen all over the UK.

Iselin Vale: Now you've both spoken very affectionately about the island, this interview will air on the 30th of June, which is the day that you leave, is there anything you would like to say to islanders as a final sort of farewell?

Sir Andrew: Well, I think we'd both like to say thank you, thank you, thank you for making us so welcome from the day we arrived and we have really enjoyed being part of the community here, loved it, and we will miss it hugely, and as I say we will leave a big part of our hearts here because it's become part of us and we don't qualify to be a Jersey bean but Jersey is in our heart now and we're very passionate about Jersey, and we're very proud to have been here.

Iselin Vale: Well on that note, Sir Andrew and Lady Ridgway, thank you very much and we too of course wish you the very best for the future.


  1. Another Freemason of course. Says it all really.

  2. Does the pompous seagulls ass relinquish his directorship of SOJ inc. on leaving?

    get a free company search report for SOJ


  3. Keeping a watchful eyeJune 30, 2011 9:29 pm

    The whole point of this snot-nosed ponce Ridgeway's posting to Jersey, is to report back to the Queen on any issues of contention.

    What a loser. One hopes he and his extravagant wife can live with themselves after their mockery of Jersey's victims, and indeed, their general disdain for the people of Jersey who are not well heeled.

  4. Hi Ian.

    Just up up the Audio of our Departing Lt Governor's Speech.

    You & your reader's can listen to it HERE

  5. Thanks TJW, good work mate, and much appreciated.

  6. I have always maintained, and will never waver over the fact that Freemasonry has an awful lot to do with all this covering peoples backs and cover-up. It is a powerful force to be reckoned with, and there are a lot of English sites that point towards this elective dictatorship, and cover-up of child abuse under Freemasons that happen in Jersey.

    Look, read and be very worried....