When the leaders of the 1st/4th Gibraltar Scout Group heard that HMS Ocean was stopping in Gibraltar to prepare for its humanitarian aid mission to the Caribbean, they seized the news as an opportunity to act and to give their scouts a chance to help those in need out.
Yesterday, boxes of clothing donated by the scouts were among the goods and supplies loaded onto the Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean, which is bound for the Caribbean to provide humanitarian assistance to British Overseas Territories hit by Hurricane Irma.
“They wanted to help out in any way with a collection of clothes and other items to donate to relieve the pressure on the people in the aftermath of the hurricane,” Nadiushka Saccone, the group scout leader, told the Chronicle.
“Scouts come together to help out when they can.”
She was right. Within just a few days, the scouts managed to collect 32 army boxes full of clothes.
Separately, Monsignor Paul Bear, Interserve and the Royal Gibraltar Post Office also came together to enable children’s clothes to be donated and loaded onto HMS Ocean.
“Local shops previously donated children’s clothes that never got sold and this is the third lot that we have donated from it,” he said. Earlier donations went to Portugal and Morocco.
“The clothes were donated to us and we have to give it to whoever is most in need.”
The back of a small van was filled with the new clothes, a vast majority of which were donated from Marks and Spencer.
Yesterday morning Monsignor Bear contacted Frank Bado from the Post Office and Sally Godwin from Interserve to alert them to the clothing he had ready to donate.
“I got a call from Monsignor Bear saying look I have got this kit and I would like to get it onto Ocean can you help, I said I would put it all in a van for him and take it down [to the naval base],” said Mr Bado.
Between Ms Godwin and Mr Bado arrangements were made to collect and deliver the goods, including obtaining permission from the British Forces to do so.
“I just contacted the MoD and said we had these donated goods can we get it here to you, I was the middle women in getting it sorted,” said Ms Godwin.
Also loaded yesterday were the remaining vehicles donated by the Gibraltar Government, alongside building materials.
The Governor Lieutenant General, Edward Davis, and the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, went on-board HMS Ocean yesterday to see from themselves the work the crew of over 800 people are doing in preparing the ship for its departure to the hurricane struck islands in the Caribbean.
The two men walked up the gangway together to an official welcome where a whistle was blown and the ship’s company stood to attention. Following a quick chat with some of the crew members the two men joined the ships Commanding Officer, Captain Robert Pedre, for a coffee.
While they were on-board boxes from Department for International Development (Dfid) containing family hygiene and dignity kits where being loaded onto the ship. There were 44 pallets, each with 36 hygiene kits, a total of 1,584 kits. The kits contain items such as soap, shampoo, adult and child toothpaste, torch, safety pins, reusable menstrual pads, nail clippers and laundry detergent.
The 10 cars donated by the Gibraltar Government on behalf of the people of Gibraltar were lined up outside HMS Ocean ready to be loaded.
The Chief Minister also saw boxes donated from the 1st/4th Gibraltar Scout Group being carried on-board by crew members.