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Paper's poignant event sees islanders stand side by side

The Jersey Evening Post and the island of Jersey have demonstrated their support for the victims of the Asian tsunami disaster in a very visual way.

Five thoudand people from the island stood ‘Side by Side’ at the weekend, to spell out a special message on the sand to symbolise the way that the community has supported the relief effort and to signal its intention to carry on helping in the future.

The event was organised by the Jersey Evening Post after its chief reporter Anthony Lewis came up with the idea.

People walked, jogged or took a free shuttle service provided by Connex and Tantivy Blue Coach, and waited patiently while the message Side by Side was marked out on the beach near La Rocco Tower in 25 metre-high letters.

The crowd, many of whom had heeded the advice to wear brightly coloured hats, then proceeded down to the beach where they were guided by marshals from the TA and the Scouts to fill up the marked out message.

And as soon as the last letters were in place deputy picture editor Matt Hotton took photographs from a helicopter circling overhead.

Anthony said: “I was absolutely staggered by the response of the community and our readers.

“We are a sea-dependent community, like many of those hit by the disaster. This was our way of saying that we stand together with those communities not just now but for the long term and that we will do whatever we can to help.

“It was not a fundraising exercise but a symbolic thing to allow the people of Jersey to demonstrate their support.

“I hope the message is that we stand side by side long-term, and that we will be there for them.”

It is now hoped that newspapers and media agencies around south-east Asia will publish the aerial photographs of the event to bring a little hope those who have lost everything.

  • The island, which has a population of 85,000, has already raised almost £2m for the British Red Cross’s disaster relief appeal. Jersey’s government gave £500,000 and the public have raised the rest by making donations and organising fundraising events.