The annual pensioners' Christmas party was hosted in Prince Philip Hall by Sean and Marina Burns on the 5th December 2019

2019 Pensioners' Christmas Party

Report and photos by Peter Millington

The annual Christmas Party hosted by Administrator Sean Burns and his wife Marina was held in Prince Philip Hall on the afternoon of Thursday 5th December 2019. This event marks the start of Tristan's Christmas season.

Sean and Marina Burns welcoming pensioners to their Christmas party.

Sean and Marina Burns welcoming pensioners to their Christmas party.

Guests were welcomed by Sean and Marina as they arrived, and served with drinks by Geraldine Repetto and Kelly Green. When everyone was there, Sean started the party with a short speech. This was to be his last Pensioners' party, as he and Marina will be leaving in January after 6 years as Admin. He thanked everyone for their friendliness and support. Sean commended the new joint Admins who will be arriving to take over in January. He promised he would not be returning again as Admin, but he and Marina will be making personal visits to see their family and friends on the island.

Summarising the year, Sean said that islanders should be proud of the decisions by the Island Council regarding the Blue Belt Programme. This will secure conservation of the sea mounts and the bluenose fishery. It does not affect the Rock Lobster fishery, which continues to be certified as sustainable. This December has been especially busy. The Baltic Trader was due to arrive on the 6th December, bringing materials for the harbour, and the refurbished fisheries patrol vessel Wave Dancer.

The two bad storms thankfully caused relatively little damage to private houses, but this was not the case with Government buildings. Sean had not been on the island at the time of the July storm, but sterling work done by Acting Administrator Lorraine in getting repairs and recovery under way. He particularly thanked the pensioners who helped and continue to help with repairs, not least with the Residency. He and his team have moved now back into the Administration building, with the Treasury due to move in next week. The Post Office and Tourism are in the process of moving back to their Centre, and the Police Station will soon be ready. Sean thanked Peter Millington, a guest representing the Tristan da Cunha Association for organising their Emergency Fund, from which the first £10,000 will help resupply the school with items not covered by other budgets.

Sean Burns making his speech at the Christmas party Sean Burns presenting a gift to Dr Joe Tyrell
Sean giving his welcoming speech Sean presenting a gift on behalf of the community to visitor Dr Joe Tyrell

Guests at the party included Dr Joe Tyrell and his wife Vicky. Joe is a cardiologist in Cape Town who has treated several Tristan patients in the past. During his visit to Tristan, he met former patients and spent time doing consultations at the hospital. Sean presented Joe with model Tristan longboat on behalf of the community as a token of their appreciation. Joe in turn later went to chat with the model's maker Brian Rogers who was also at the party.

Socialising and buffet at the pensioners' Christmas party.

Socialising and buffet at the pensioners' Christmas party.

After the speech and presentation, guests helped themselves to nibbles and cake at the buffet table, and everyone enjoyed a couple of games of bingo and more socialising. School students Amber Repetto, Chantelle Repetto and Shannon Swain helped with the refreshments and called the bingo.

Eyes down for a game of bingo Tristan pensioners playing bingo.
Eyes down for some serious bingo playing.