Cramped islanders find a listening ear

The Rev Sally Theakston, the only female Anglican chaplain in the Royal Navy, came on board this British destroyer on Tuesday to help the warship's crew and onshore Montserratians cope with volcano-related stress.

The chaplain came on board at St John's, Antigua, with the role of being "a friend and adviser, and a listening ear, to all on board and to any Montserratians I can help".

Ms Theakston, a leading figure in the fight to have women ordained, said she felt close to the islanders because there were many Montserratians in her earlier Anglican church congregation of St John at Hackney. "I have two bosses, God and the captain," she said.

The 4-5,000 Montserratians still on the island are increasingly complaining of stress, not only over the threat of another major volcanic eruption but because of cramped living conditions in the tiny northern zone where they are now squeezed.

The 250-member crew of the Liverpool, including around 30 women, are suffering mainly from a continuing cloudstream of black volcanic ash, which gets into the eyes and throat. The ash was particularly thick on Tuesday as Captain David Snelson took the ship past the abandoned capital of Plymouth, now a light grey wasteland of boulder-battered, burnt-out and ash-covered buildings.

The HMS Liverpool came to Montserrat to supervise the "voluntary evacuation" of those of the remaining islanders who opted to leave for nearby islands or Britain. But as the volcano quietened down last week, most people opted to stay. "We came here expecting a large evacuation that hasn't happened," Captain Snelson said. "There are more people going back to Montserrat than leaving," according to one of his officers.

Although 1,000 islanders registered for the evacuation, only 35 left during the first three days. There have usually been at least that number on the daily ferry going in the opposite direction. Some of these are relatives coming back to help their families pack. Others are evacuees who are now more confident the volcano will not affect the north of the island and that it will be developed with British aid.

"We have made some changes. When we announced yesterday that people would be able to get their airline tickets [from Antigua to Britain] here on the island, a cheer went up," said Mary Strode, of the aid management office of the Department for International Development. "We think that system will be more popular and it saves us money on Antigua hotels. People didn't like the idea of going to Antigua and waiting."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?