Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine

A HANDFUL OF MEMORIES

The St John Liberation Anniversary Project

To mark the 75th anniversary of Liberation, the Parish of St John have created a website and filmed the parishioners recounting their memories of Liberation Day.

Leading the project is St John parishioner Gary Grimshaw and his wife, Kieranne.  Gary  has also produced a hardback book, titled ‘A Handful of Memories’ to give to the parish.

In the introduction to the book, Gary writes: ‘As with any Islander, Liberation stories form part of my childhood. My mother, who was eight at the beginning of the Occupation, had many stories to tell. One of the most frightening being that she was used as an unsuspecting courier for passing the BBC news from the Allies. Never realising that the small piece of paper grasped tightly in her hand with the vital information was enormously dangerous for her and her family should she have been caught. There is no doubt that all of my family’s life would have  been quite different.

‘As a very small token of my appreciation, thanks and admiration of not just my mother but the entire Jersey population during the Occupation, I started the Liberation 75 memories project, I had hoped to encompass every parish and talk to very many more people, but with the outbreak of Corvid 19 plans had to change. 
As I had completed my home parish St John’s and spent a remarkable afternoon with a group of intelligent, funny, resilient parishioners, I decided that this will be the first part of a much larger and deeper project.

Few projects just happen with no planning support and for this project I have many people to thank, firstly for the words and the interviews my wife Kieranne, without her help and her remarkable knowledge, of our parishioners this project would’ve been difficult indeed. I would also like to thank the parish of St John for the use of the parish hall and the many helpers that made cakes and tea to keep us fueled and made the afternoon even more enjoyable.’

The links to view the interviews – still work in progress – are:

https://www.liberation75stjohn.org/stories
https://www.liberation75stjohn.org/

The St John Constable, Chris Taylor, has said: ‘It is important we celebrate this historic milestone in our Island’s history and I would encourage Parishioners to have tea parties in their garden if they are able to do so. Get the family involved baking biscuits, fairy cakes and pastries. Take plenty of photos and videos so this day will be remembered forever.’

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