Headlines: Farewell, grand old lady; Veterans' house in Stanley - hopes high for year end opening; Upland Goose conversion approved; Drugs arrests.
Farewell, grand old ladyAn RAF jet escorts Queen Elizabeth II past the Falkland Islands on her final voyage around the world. Sadly, the visit to Stanley by the legendary ship, which was used as a troop carrier in the Falklands war, had to be cancelled due to bad weather at the weekend. The ship's Captain, Ian McNaught, said it was frustrating not only for the people of Stanley but also for the ship's passengers and crew to miss the stop. However, he added: "Please pass on to all concerned that we're sorry for not being able to make it today, but the safety of our passengers and the ship, must always be my main concern. "Thanks once again for your understanding, it is sad that this grand old lady of the seas will never pass this way again, but please pass on our regards to the people of Port Stanley." The passengers were treated to a fly-past by RAF Tornados as she sailed past the Islands and Captain McNaught said this gesture was appreciated by everyone on board. Veterans' house in Stanley - hopes high for year end openingPROJECT Stanley, the programme to build a house specifically for the use of returning war veterans, is set to become a reality. Plans are now underway for the three bedroom house to be built by the end of the year. In the Islands this week were Smokey Cole from the Falklands Veterans Foundation (FVF) and Tony Davies from the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA82) to finalise plans for the construction of the house. The house is to be built by Ian Stewart Construction on the East Stanley plot at 1 Rowlands Rise. It will feature three en suite bedrooms, a large communal lounge and kitchen area and a self-contained flat. It will have easy access and facilities for disabled veterans. Sourcing funding for the house had been a long haul, particularly for Smokey who was the brains behind the idea. He was devastated when an application for Lottery Funding was turned down, however after the UK public's display of support for veterans at Horse Guards last June and the testimonies of the close links between the Islands and the veterans, funding began to pour in. Tony commented: "There has always been tremendous support here in the Islands but now no one in the UK is saying no - I've been surprised by that." One third of the money has come from the Royal British Legion, another third from the benevolent funds of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and the Seafarer's Fund, and the remaining third has been pledged by the Challenge Fund, a veterans' fundraiser from the Ministry of Defence's policy unit. Tony and Smokey hope to reNavy and Royal Air Force and the Seafarer's Fund, and the remaining third has been pledged by the Challenge Fund, a veterans' fundraiser from the Ministry of Defence's policy unit. Tony and Smokey hope to return to the Islands before the end of the year, "with somebody special" for an official opening of the house. The construction of the house will allow around ten small pilgrimages to be made by veterans each year. Traditionally veterans have been hosted by Islanders and Smokey says people who are concerned that the special relationship may suffer shouldn't worry: "We are keen to continue the excellent relationship the veterans have with Islanders. This way they can reciprocate the hospitality - they can invite Islanders back to their place." Smokey and Tony are now ironing out the legalities of how the building will be managed and run jointly by FVF and SAMA82. Upland Goose conversion approvedPLANNING permission has been granted for the conversion of the Upland Goose Hotel into nine residential properties. The work was discussed by the Planning and Building Committee at its meeting held yesterday. Environmental Planning Officer (EPO) Tom Eggling said that FIC Ltd had indicated that the units are likely to be used by the company's employees and it did not intend to sell off or rent out the units. Government Archivist Jane Cameron said at a meeting of the Historic Building Committee (HBC) last month that the conversion of the listed building was the most "sympathetic" that she had seen. The existing conservatory is to be removed and each property will have an entrance porch in traditional design with their own front garden. Ms Cameron was pleased that the barge-boards and chimneys would be retained and the HBC agreed that the project would significantly improve the appearance of the row. Drugs arrestsTHREE people were arrested and interviewed last week in a joint Police/Customs investigation in relation to the importation of drugs. The Chief of Police confirmed all three had been released on police bail pending further enquiries.