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'We Will Never Forget'

A memorial is being held at the Town Church this evening (7 December) to mark the first anniversary of two tragedies that claimed 13 lives.

The service will be led by the Dean of Jersey, the Very Reverend Mike Keirle, to remember the victims of the L'Ecume II and Haut du Mont disasters.

Friday (8 December) marks a year to the day since a fishing boat and a freight ship collided off Jersey's west coast.  L'Ecume II skipper Michael Michieli, and his crew Larry Simyunn and Jervis Baligat, all died in the incident.

Less than 48 hours later, an explosion at Haut du Mont took the lives of Raymie Brown, Romeu and Louise de Almeida, Derek and Sylvia Ellis Billy Marsden, Ken and Jane Ralph and Peter Bowler, and on Christmas Day a tenth resident, Kathy McGuinness, died in hospital.

The Dean says today's service is an opportunity to give thanks for the lives of those who died, and to remember their families at a really difficult time.

"Anniversaries are very difficult.  When somebody first dies, there is a lot of activity around and people there to support you.  But after a while, much of that falls away.  It is really important that we come together to let those families know that they have not been forgotten and we are there for them."

Jersey's Chief Officers of the Emergency Services at the memorial service in the immediate aftermath of the dual disasters.

The Chief Officers of Jersey's emergency services have also been remembering the victims, their loved ones and those who lost their homes.

Fire Chief Paul Brown says the thoughts of all his staff are with everyone affected:

"We know we can never truly understand the sense of loss they have experienced and we recognise that this anniversary, while important, will be hard for them. We will never forget their loved ones.”

On Friday and Sunday afternoons, emergency service personnel will observe a minute's silence.

Peter Gavey, Chief Ambulance Officer, says the two dates 'remain etched in our collective memories':

"My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all our staff and our mutual aid partners for their response.

As we take time to remember the lives that were tragically taken from us, our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those they lost."

Police Chief Officer Robin Smith says his officers who are investigating both disasters have never forgotten who they are doing this for:

"...the victims, their families and the many people who lost their homes – and our thoughts are with them at what I know will be a very difficult time.

A year on, the anniversaries also give us an opportunity to acknowledge and thank all those who responded to the calls for help and who continue to answer that call as part of the ongoing investigation and support work they do for the families involved in the major incidents.

They’re a credit to the Island."

Thirteen candles will be lit at the Town Church service, to symbolise each of the lives lost.

The Bailiff, Sir Tim Le Cocq, will greet the congregation with an opening address before the first reading of Psalm 23 by Chief Minister Deputy Kristina Moore.

Jersey Catholic Dean, Canon Dominic Golding, will hold a reflection, and there will be a second reading, 'Still by Char Marks', read by Constable Simon Crowcroft.

The Very Reverend Mike Keirle will then hold a commemoration, followed by a one-minute silence.

Musical Originals will perform 'Even When He Is Silent'  and the Dean will lead the Lord's Prayer before the final blessing.

Those attending the service are asked to be in their seats by 5.45pm.  It is being live-streamed on the Bailiff's social media channels.

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