Volunteer Orders to Marsh - News - Jersey Heritage

A young Jersey Heritage volunteer has WON a prestigious award for his work on restoring historic boats. Tom Vallois (21) traveled to London for the annual Marsh Awards*, presented on HMS Belfast on 23rd October.



Tom joined the Maritime Museum Boat Shop in January 2012, between leaving school and seeking full-time work. He had already built an impressive knowledge of boats, working for a fishing business both on a trawler and onshore while still studying and then crewing on yacht deliveries as a part time summer job. He saw an opportunity to learn new skills, while supporting Jersey Heritage, and signed up as a volunteer.

Tom has a clear love of the sea, using every available moment of his spare time to go sailing and has gained a number of maritime qualifications including his RYA Yacht Master Theory and RYA International Certificate of Competence.

When he joined the team of volunteers at the Maritime Museum Boat Shop, Tom was able to use skills he had learned doing carpentry and building work in a family firm. He devoted three days a week helping with day-to-day tasks involved in the maintenance of the fleet of wooden boats in the Jersey Heritage collection, including the lifeboat Howard D, which was invited last year to take part in the Thames Flotilla as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen.

Jersey Heritage Director of Community Learning, Doug Ford said: ‘Tom is a very able sailor. During his time with us he has learned new skills using both modern machine and traditional woodworking tools and is a very popular member of the team in the Boat Shop.’

Julia Coutanche, who co-ordinates volunteers for Jersey Heritage added: ‘Tom represents everything that is great about volunteering. He has brought his own talents and personality to the organisation, and in return has learned new skills, developed his confidence and has now been recognised for the contribution he has made. We are all extremely pleased for Tom at being shortlisted for this award’.

Tom has now found full time employment with a local boatyard, where he is learning to be a sail-maker. He said: ‘'I'm pleasantly surprised and very thankful to Jersey Heritage for giving me a voluntary opportunity which has led to such success.’

Despite now having a full time job, Tom still helps out with historic boats whenever he has time.

About the Marsh Christian Trust

The Marsh Christian Trust is a grant making body, established in 1981 by the founder and current Chairman, Mr Brian Marsh OBE.  The Trust provides grants to registered charities working in the fields of social welfare, literature arts and heritage, environmental and animal welfare, healthcare and medical research, education and training and a small number overseas.

Since its establishment in 1981, the number of organisations supported each year has grown from just eight to over 250 today.

The Trust's principle activity is financed by income derived from its investment portfolio and it does not accept any public donations.

About the Marsh Awards

The Awards seek to recognise unsung heroes who all aim to improve the world we live in. Recipients of Marsh Awards range from scientists working in conservation biology and ecology, to authors and sculptors from the arts world, and those who give their time unselfishly to work with the young, the elderly, people with mental health issues and for our heritage.

There are now 41 Marsh Awards that are presented each year.

About the Maritime Museum Boat Shop

The Boat Shop was funded by the Friends of the Maritime Museum to maintain the Jersey Heritage fleet of historic craft. The team restores historic boats, builds new ones or brings in pieces to work on. The historic boats, which can be seen in the marina in front of the museum and the old harbour behind it, are regularly used between April and October and then from the beginning of November until the end of March they are brought in for their regular maintenance and painting ready for the new season's sailing.

The work is carried out by a team of volunteers from the Friends of the Maritime Museum. The Boat Shop is in operation on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the year. The tools used are a mixture of old and new. The jobs undertaken involve woodwork, metalwork, caulking and rigging as well as painting and fastening - riveting, etc.

Since opening in 1997 a number of major projects as well as normal maintenance work have been undertaken including:

Jesse 1997-1999
a Hamble OD built by AR Luke in 1913 - sponsored by Boots Plc, Jersey Association of Charities and the Friends of the Maritime Museum.

Diana (I) 1998 
ex-ship's launch c. 1890 converted to motor boat - funded by the JH.

Florence 1999-2000
a Hamble OD built by AR Luke in 1913 - sponsored by Mr and Mrs David Crossland in memory of his mother, Florence.

Fiona 2001-2002 
originally built c. 1860 - sponsored by the Friends of the Maritime Museum.

Howard D 2006-2008
1937 Liverpool Class RNLI lifeboat - funded by the JHT with contributions from the Friends of the Maritime Museum.