Tuesday 06 February 2024
The Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission is delighted to host a Guernsey International Development Network Event celebrating the British Red Cross' long-standing relationship with Guernsey throughout history, up to today.
The evening will be held on Tuesday 5th March 2024 at Les Cotils Centre from 7.00pm. Free Tickets are available from: https://bit.ly/OADC-redcross
2024 will mark the 80th Anniversary year of the International Red Cross SS Vega first visiting Guernsey in December 1944 to deliver desperately needed aid to the local population during the Occupation. The Vice-President of the Channel Islands' Occupation Society, Paul Le Pelley, a local historian who has a special interest in the subject, will be providing an informative presentation on the SS Vega and other Red Cross support provided to Islanders during the Occupation. There will also be a display of artefacts relating to the SS Vega kindly loaned by Guernsey Museums and the German Occupation Museum.
After a Fairtrade Coffee Break to see the display, there will also be a thought-provoking presentation from British Red Cross representatives, who are visiting the Island. Rachel Polnay, Director of Partnerships and Philanthropy, and Anaish Yilma-Parmar, Head of Legacies, who will provide a talk focussing on the current work of the British Red Cross internationally and in the UK, which has included support from the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission.
In regard to the SS Vega, Mr Le Pelley said:
"For approximately 9 months - from the fall of St Malo in mid-August 1944 to the liberation of the Channel Islands on 9 May 1945 - the islands, which were nowhere near self-sufficient in producing foodstuffs or medical supplies faced increasing deprivations. This desperate situation was overcome by the arrival of aid from the International Red Cross in the shape of the SS Vega. This particular ship made several visits to the islands between the 27 December, 1944 and June 1945, bringing much needed food and medical supplies to the islands. But the International Red Cross did much more than just bring Red Cross parcels to the islands in the last few months of the war as many other services beneficial to Channel Islanders were carried out by the International Red Cross. My presentation will briefly lay out all that the International Red Cross did for Channel Islanders during WW2".
Deputy Chris Blin, the President of the OA&DC, said:
"The history of the support provided by the Red Cross to Guernsey is fascinating and Paul's presentation will help to bring this to life. Obviously, the work of the Red Cross across the globe continues. The Commission has been proud to support British Red Cross projects for a number of years and, in recent times alone, has provided Disaster and Emergency Relief Awards to alleviate the effects of extreme monsoon floods in Pakistan, a volcanic eruption tsunami in Tonga, and the East Africa Food Crisis in Somalia. The Commission is therefore very pleased to host this event and welcome a senior British Red Cross delegation to the Island. For me, it will be just as important to gain an insight into the current work of this well respected organisation and understand how we can help. I am therefore looking forward to welcoming all those who take a similar interest".