The final farewell to the RMS St Helena
The details of the final voyage of the venerable RMS St Helena have been released. Although everyone was aware the iconic ship would sail away from the island forever, having dutifully served St Helena for the past 27 years, there were still a few who didn’t believe the day would come.
Now islanders are beginning preparations for the final voyage send-off. These include a cocktail party on board before the RMS departs on her last voyage from Cape Town on Wednesday, 24 January. The RMS will sail from ‘F Berth’ where the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band, dignitaries and others will be able to wave goodbye to the vessel. Director of St Helena Line, Mrs Kedell Worboys MBE, will present Captain Adam Williams with a 27ft ‘paying off’ pennant, to mark the 27 years’ service of the RMS St Helena, which will be flown from her mast as she sets sail.
The RMS arrives at St Helena on Tuesday, 6 February, when the on-island activities for her farewell begin. A service of thanksgiving will be held at St James’ Church for RMS crew – this will conclude with a procession to the sea front. A ‘memory wall’ will be placed in various locations throughout the week for members of the public to share their memories of the RMS.
The public are invited to attend an open day on-board on a specially created public holiday, 9 February. Guests will be able to visit The Bridge, from where they will get a birds-eye view of the cargo decks and open deck spaces. The lifeboats will also be open so visitors can see what they look like from the inside.
For the final farewell, the island will have a chance to say goodbye to the RMS crew on Saturday, 10 February, when all crew members will proceed from the Grand Parade in Jamestown, through the Arch, making their way along the sea front before returning to the ship.
The RMS will depart St Helena at 4pm on Saturday 10 February, a time that will be etched in St Helena’s history books. The 27ft paying off pennant will be walked from the sea front to the bottom steps where Kedell, with the assistance of a few school competition winners, will again present the pennant to Captain Williams. Members of the public will be allowed access to the bottom steps to witness this and to say a final farewell to the island’s last lifeline.