Report on the 2019 Association Annual Gathering in Southampton, where members socialised, watched films, and visited stalls. Aniket Sardana gave a talk on Tristan through a vet's eyes.

Association News

2019 Annual Gathering

Photos from Ann Ashworth, Marc Escudier, Mike Faulds, and Aniket Sardana

Southampton Holiday Inn was once again the venue of the Tristan da Cunha Association Annual Gathering, which this year took place on Saturday 27th April 2019. There was a good attendance of about 100 people. Those who were staying in the hotel met up on the Friday evening for dinner and drinks in the bar.

Saturday morning was a time for parallel activities. There were Tristan films in one room, varied this year with a rolling slideshow of antique photographs and an extra talk. Meanwhile people moved between browsing the stalls and displays, and socialising in the Gathering's reception area, where free coffee, tea and cakes were available all day.

Women chatting Men chatting
An important part of the Gathering is just catching up with relatives and old friends.
Auction lots The stalls
Some of the charity auction lots. People milling around the stalls.
Attendees Our youngest attendee
A family outing: Alan Green, Janet Toseland, Marion MacIntyre and Elizabeth Hunt. Our youngest attendee, Emily Flight and her mum Gemma, daughter and granddaughter of Pat and Sue Patterson.
As reported elsewhere on the website, we were pleased to welcome both the Governor-Elect of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, Dr. Philip Rushbrook and the Chief Islander James Glass. In fact there were also eight other visiting resident islanders: James' wife Felicity and their grandson Keiran Glass, Rodney, Sarah and Connor Green, and the three A-level students - Jade Repetto, Janice Green, and Rhyanna Swain. Additionally, there was a similar number of islanders now resident in the UK.

Chief Islander James Glass talking with Governor-Elect Dr Philip Rushbrook

Chief Islander James Glass talking with Governor-Elect Dr Philip Rushbrook

James Glass and his family with Marc Escudier.

The Glass and Green family visitors with Marc Escudier

MSc student Jeremy Hadland provoked much discussion with his survey on whether a functioning air strip could be built on Tristan, and if the islanders would want one if so. While this was a purely hypothetical academic study for his course, it builds on Jeremy's practical experience serving with the RAF in the Falkland Islands and on Ascension Island.

Respondents to Jeremy's survey were entered into a draw for a cash prize, which was won by visiting islander Kieran Glass. Jeremy also bid generously and successfully in the charity auction in aid of the Education Trust Fund.

Jeremy Hadland and Mike Faulds

Right: Jeremy Hadland discusses his survey with Mike Faulds

Stewart Miller talking about the role HMS Leopard played during the 1961 volcano crisis.

In a late addition to the programme, Stewart Miller (left) came especially from his home in France to give an interesting talk about HMS Leopard's role in salvaging islanders' belongings during the volcanic eruption of 1961. This was illustrated with his own photographs and amateur film footage of the operation probably shot by Administrator Peter Wheeler using his wife's camera.

Stewart also brought an oil painting of HMS Leopard approaching Tristan by Rex Phillips. He originally intended for it to be auctioned in aid of the Education Trust Fund, but instead by agreement with the Association Committee, it will now go instead to the Museum on Tristan.

Stewart Miller Stewart Miller
One of Stewart Miller's slides, showing sailors keeping an eye on the rumbling volcano as they salvage possessions in 1961. Richard Grundy with the oil painting by Rex Phillips that Stewart has donated to the Museum on Tristan.
Michael Swales, Jim Kerr, Ian Mathieson and John Cooper
L-to-R: President & Chairman, Michael Swales; Secretary, Jim Kerr; Treasurer, Ian Mathieson; new Co-Chair, John Cooper
The Association's formal Annual General Meeting was as usual brief, commencing with a minute's silence in memory of the members who passed away during the year. The Secretary Jim Kerr, reported a stable number of members, and Treasurer Ian Mathieson reported healthy bank balances for both the Association and the Education Trust Fund. The Association's officers were re-elected en bloc, although there was one major change. Michael Swales stood down as chairman, to be replaced by two Co-Chairs - John Cooper and Richard Grundy. Michael, however, remains our President for Life. We welcomed two new people to the Committee - Hazel and Barry Carter.
Aniket Sardana In the afternoon, Aniket Sardana (left) gave an interesting presentation on "Tristan da Cunha through a vet's eyes", in which he talked about his veterinary work with the island's cattle and sheep, as well as with its 97 dogs and 11 remaining donkeys. It was illustrated throughout with excellent photographs and videos, including aerial shots taken with his drone. Aniket has also used his drone to help the conservatists with their investigations in accessible locations.
An interview with Dereck Rogers
Aniket included an interview on video with Tristan's local Veterinary Officer, Dereck Rogers, who looks after animal health on the island between visits by qualified vets.
Raffle prize winners  
The bottles proved to be popular prizes during the raffle draw, although Frank Rogers chose(?) the men's toiletries.  
The afternoon ended with a charity auction of Tristan-related items in aid of the Education Trust Fund, followed by the raffle draw. We then broke for more socialising and a rest before the dinner dance in the evening.  
A table at the dinner dance  
At the dinner dance (L-to-R): Kieran Glass, Aniket Sardana, Alan & Ann Ashworth, Sandra Kornet, Rodney, Sarah & Connor Green, and Jim Kerr.  
Jade Repetto, Rhyanna Swain and Janice Green  
Jade Repetto, Rhyanna Swain and Janice Green with their friends.  
Pillow Dance  
A scene from the Pillow Dance: The pillow has been put down. When we kneel on it, we have to kiss!  
Ron Burn on a mission in the Pillow Dance. Disco dancing till midnight.
Ron Burn on a mission in the Pillow Dance. Disco dancing till midnight.

The next Annual Gathering will be in Southampton on 18th April 2020, as always the Saturday after Easter.