Going Dutch on £5k gift for St Catherine RNLI

RNLI 7

Too big for the collection box: Lifeboat Operations Manager Nigel Sweeny flanked by (L to R)  Karel van Akkeren and Nico Verburg of VBMS, and Jersey Electricity’s Jerry Willis and Daniel Maletroit 

St Catherine RNLI crew received an early Christmas present yesterday when Lifeboat Operations Manager Nigel Sweeny was presented with a cheque for £5,000 by the men who masterminded the installation of Jersey’s third power cable to France that came ashore in St Catherine’s Bay in August.

Jersey Electricity contracted Dutch specialists VBMS to undertake the installation of the 100MW, Normandie 1 cable along a 27km route from Surville, Normandy, to Archirondel, deploying the 4,000-tonne cable laying vessel Stemat Spirit. It took VBMS engineers a year to plan the operation which included two complex landfalls in difficult tidal conditions on both sides of the Channel. 

As a safety initiative, VBMS set aside €100 a day for each day of the project without an accident. They calculated 50 days, bringing a total of €5,000 which they split between welfare improvements for the crew on the Stemat and a €2,500 donation to a nominated charity – in this case the RNLI. Jersey Electricity agreed to match their generosity and round the figure up to £5,000.

In Jersey yesterday to present the cheque at St Catherine RNLI Station were VBMS N1 Project Managers Nico Verburg and Karel van Akkeren who were joined by JE’s N1 Project Manager Jerry Willis and Clerk of Works Daniel Maletroit.

Jerry said: ‘This is a marvellous gesture by VBMS whose crew did an amazing job on this project. I can’t think of a more fitting charity than the RNLI to benefit and we at Jersey Electricity are delighted to support our Dutch colleagues in this initiative and the brave volunteers of the RNLI.

Accepting the cheque, Nigel said: 'The RNLI relies entirely on donations and legacies to fund and maintain its lifeboat fleet, the boathouses, crew training and equipment, in order to enable its volunteer crews around the coast to provide 24/7 coverage throughout the British Isles and Ireland. This generous donation by VBMS and Jersey Electricity will contribute significantly towards the saving of life at sea and on the water and I am delighted to accept it on the Institution's behalf.’