Bring on the bunting!
To mark the 50-days countdown to the NatWest International Island Games, a ‘decorate your place’ competition has been launched to bring the streets alive with colour to celebrate the festival of sport. Islanders are being encouraged to get wrapped up in the spirit of the Games by decorating their homes with flags and bunting.
The organisers are also urging businesses, shops, hotels, pubs, residential homes, and schools to join in, by getting decked out with the patriotic regalia.
Amanda Hibbs, communications and events director for the Games, said she wanted to see the island ablaze with colour to welcome the athletes. “After a difficult few years the Island Games will put a smile back on people’s faces and we’d love to see more flags flying than ever before. We’re calling on Guernsey residents to help us make the Games magical, and we’re hoping that the whole community will get behind this effort to make the island as bright and colourful as possible in order to support the local and visiting teams.
“The local athletes have told us how much it means to them to be competing on home soil, and they can’t wait to see flags flying. Our advice is that if you’ve still got your Liberation Day flags and bunting up, leave them up for the Games.
“Be as colourful and creative as you like, have fun, wave flags from balconies, hang them from windows, adorn your garden, you could even festoon your shed. People may be poised to paint the island green, but you could also choose flags from some of the visiting islands, from Greenland to the Falkland Islands, the choice is yours.”
People who want to enter the competition can email a photo of their decorated place to firstname.lastname@example.org or post the photo to Guernsey 2023 NatWest International Island Games, La Villiaze, St Andrew’s, GY6 8YP.
An anonymous donation means that there will be three prizes of £100 each. In addition, the organisers will donate £50 to the local charity of choice of each of the winners. Entries need to be submitted by Saturday 1 July, and a judging panel will select the best. The winners will be notified by Wednesday 5 July.
You can download some bunting templates to printout and colour here.
Avid crocheter Tamara O’Brien has already embraced the celebration vibe and is bringing colour to the party by crocheting a series of Island Games-themed postbox toppers. There will be 14 toppers on postboxes around St Peter Port, Envoy House, and the airport.
Each topper will represent one of the fourteen different sports happening in the Games. The first topper features the athletics and it is being placed on the postbox by the Town Church. It has been sponsored by the family of the late Owen Le Vallee MBE. Mr Le Vallee was the driving force behind the second ever Island Games, which was hosted by Guernsey in 1987. He was also a life member of the International Island Games Association.
Creating the toppers is a careful art form because each postbox differs in size and shape, and has to be carefully measured in order to ensure a snug fit. Ms O’Brien started her unique knitted creations during the lockdown in order to raise people’s spirits, and since then the labour of love has gone from strength to strength. After marking events such as the Platinum Jubilee, the Commonwealth Games, and the King’s Coronation, the Island Games was a natural next step.
Material for the toppers has been sponsored by Skipton and Waitrose. After the Games, the series of toppers will be on display at Health Connections, and then Martel Maides will do an online auction to raise money for charities. Ms O’Brien has chosen the Friends of Frossard Ward, the GreenAcres Dementia Care Home, and the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation, as her benefiting charities. A JustGiving page is also being set up for anyone who wants to donate to these charities.
Now that the 50-days threshold has been reached, the Games organising committee is very busy putting all the plans into action and supporting the volunteer teams. The outline sports programme has been released, and the final touches are being added to it. The organising committee for the Games has been working with the Health Improvement Commission and the Sports Commission on several activities and projects linked to the Games. This includes an active travel plan, healthy eating, and sports-based activities. This weekend’s Youth Games and the upcoming school sports days will be Island Games-themed.
Preparations are well in hand for the opening ceremony, which will be a heart-pumping, music-filled spectacle along the Town seafront. It will highlight island hospitality, pride, and talent.
Jet the puffin mascot continues to have a very busy social calendar in the run-up to the Games. As part of the 50-days countdown, Jet will be at the Sure store in Town on Friday lunchtime and Saturday morning. Jet will also be at the Youth Games on Saturday afternoon.
As well as supporting the postbox toppers, Guernsey Post is gearing up for the party by releasing a special set of Island Games stamps. The series will depict the 14 different sports.