First visit to Tristan's Roman Catholic community for Superior of the Mission to the South Atlantic Islands.

Father Hugh delivers labels to Tristan Post Office

Father Hugh resolves a sticky 'label situation'
Report from Tristan Government UK Representative Chris Carnegy

When Father Hugh Allan was appointed by the Pope as Superior of the Mission sui juris of St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island, delivering sticky labels probably wasn't high on his expected list of duties. But such is life if you care for earth's remotest community.

The Tristan Post Office is hugely grateful to the UK Royal Mail for donations of the special labels that enable postmistress Iris Green and her team to send collectable stamps by registered post to philatelists around the world. But as 2018 began, the operation threatened to grind to a halt. A consignment of labels had been lost in the South African postal system, and a deadline loomed for the departure of the next ship from Cape Town to Tristan.

Photo from Chris Carnegy shows Father Hugh with the labels on 23rd January 2018

On January 23rd, the news got worse: a replacement batch of labels sent by courier was reported to be untraceable. With hours to go, Tristan's UK Representative Chris Carnegy spotted a chance to break the logjam. Father Hugh was due to fly from Heathrow that night, en route via Cape Town for his first-ever visit to his flock on Tristan. Royal Mail rose to the occasion and conjured a third batch of labels: Chris sped to their depot and then to Heathrow, where the precious consignment was handed-over in the passenger drop-off zone outside Terminal 3.

Stamp collectors worldwide will once again be receiving their precious parcels, little realising how small islands sometimes work in mysterious ways!