‘The residents have, over the course of their lives, dealt with many adversities,’ said town crier Kevin Moore during his traditional processional address.
‘Evacuation and return to shattered homes, the hardships of life on a small island and now Covid. But as always, the spirit of Alderney shines through and it is with this Alderney spirit that our senior citizens as one decided “the show must go on”.’
Alderney States President William Tate, who presented the residents with the award, said: ‘Because there was no traditional cavalcade and procession this year, the residents decided to have their own. It was incredibly heartening to see the contributions of the care home residents to the community and it brought smiles to a lot of faces.’
Family and friends of the Connaught Care Home and the public were encouraged to drive by Jubilee Home on the island’s High Street, where the residents’ stationary parade float was displayed.
Liz Bowskill, manager of the Connaught Care Home, said most of the home’s families and daycare members happily took part in the small-scale celebrations.
‘I think cancelling Alderney Week was a sensible decision, but for two years now, our residents couldn’t attend Alderney Week celebrations – an event that has been such a large part of most of their lives,’ she said.
‘Usually the cavalcade walks past the home and we wave at them and they wave at us. This year, we encouraged people to drive by our static float.’
The lockdown forced the disruption of more than 70 events planned as part of Alderney Week, which has been celebrated for more than 70 years.
Mrs Bowskill described the event as steeped in tradition.
‘After all the hard work the residents have done on their float, we wanted to give them a chance to show it to the community,’ she added.
‘It was such a great thing to see the smiles on our residents’ faces after the lockdown, when they had no contact with their loved ones.’
The Connaught Care Home residents are not the only people affected by the cancellation of Alderney Week, the island’s most significant attraction for visitors.
Mr Tate said that during a normal year the island’s population can easily double with visitors arriving for the traditional celebration. ‘We’ve just had an outbreak of Covid-19, but it’s been very well managed,’ he said.
‘We’re still nervous but we also recognise that we can’t live in a bubble forever.
‘We’re taking responsibility to keep the community safe while still giving visitors the best time possible. The atmosphere is very positive, but there’s still a crisis, and we are taking responsibility.’
Of the multiple events that were planned for Alderney Week, only a handful of outdoor, socially distanced events are continuing as scheduled.