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Wear your favourite Guernsey today!

Wear your favourite Guernsey today!

Thursday 18 November 2021

Wear your favourite Guernsey today!

Thursday 18 November 2021

Today is 'Wear a Guernsey Day' - and Express is encouraging readers to wear theirs in support of the RNLI.

First documented in the island in the 16th Century, the iconic Guernsey pullover remains popular with many islanders, and thousands are also exported every year.

At 10:00hrs there is an event at the Tourist Information Centre at the North Esplanade to promote and celebrate 'Wear a Guernsey Day'.

Visitors will find stalls, traditional Guernsey food including beanjar and gâche melée, Christmas cards and gifts from the RNLI and refreshments served by the GSPCA. And Guernsey Woollens and Le Tricoteur, well-known suppliers of the Guernsey, will be there with the star of the show. 

Whether going to the event or not, islanders are encouraged to wear their Guernsey with pride today and make donations to the charity linked to this year's event - the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

Donations to the RNLI can be sent by post to: The Lifeboat Guild Treasurer, Ingleside, Les Mares Pellees, Vale, GY3 5PN.

In celebration of 'Wear a Guernsey Day', Express caught up with several people who wear their Guernsey regularly. 

Guernsey jumper - Auburn Gardens

Charlie Atkinson (far right) - landscaper at Auburn Gardens: “A lot of the guys here like wearing their Guernseys to work.

"They act as a really warm, hardy layer in the cold weather. They’re also waxed, so when the rain is on and off we stay mostly dry without having to take our raincoats on and off. While they keep you dry, they’re still breathable so you don’t get the condensation inside like you might get with a solid rain jacket.

"The love for Guernseys in the group is so strong that we’ve even got authentic Guernsey beanies with the Auburn Gardens logo on!”


Guernsey jumper - Morgan Johnson

Morgan Johnson - teacher at Elizabeth College: "My Guernsey is actually a hand-me-down from my dad after my mum apparently shrunk it in the wash!

"I love that the Guernsey is so adaptable to all activities and weathers: as an outdoors person it adapts perfectly from cliffs to beaches to island hopping.

"The RNLI is a cause close to my heart because in August 2019 they rescued my dad when the two of us were sailing from Northern Ireland to North Wales and he suffered a stroke. They saved his life that day without a doubt, and did it with professionalism and care for both of us."


Guernsey jumper - Rupert Dorey

Rupert Dorey - businessman: "I do indeed like wearing Guernseys. In fact, I believe every day is 'wear a Guernsey day'.  

"I have 13 Guernseys in various states and colours, from very new and smart to complete disrepair with holes in and sleeves falling off. They truly are an exceptional garment for all seasons, occasions, ages and uses, and they never go out of fashion.

"I have worn one almost continuously from early childhood to now, and will likely do so for ever. It makes getting dressed very easy and stress free! Today I'll be mainly wearing my gardening one, which is full of holes."


Guernsey jumper - Andy Offen

Andy Offen - retired: "I wear my dad’s old Guernsey. It is as old as me and I’m 60 next month. It’s been repaired once or twice by an old friend of my mum’s who still knits Guernseys. I’ve taken to wearing it Roffey-style lately. I never used to but perhaps I’m going soft."


Guernsey jumper - Barry Brehaut

Barry Brehaut - Deputy, 2004-20: “As a child, I’d go out of my way to avoid wearing a Guernsey. It was like wearing a very itchy straight jacket. The Guernsey was probably an ill fitting hand-me-down, too, so that was another reason to resist wearing it.

"As I got older and started messing about in boats, I realised there was no match for the island's answer to Gore-Tex. Wearing a Guernsey became essential as well as a bit of a uniform.

"My favourite Guernsey was a sky blue one. I loved it, but my family loved it less. I was told it was mislaid during a house move, but following a brief truth & reconciliation process its fate was revealed: it was handed in to a charity shop. I still miss it."


Guernsey jumper - Chloe Le Poidevin (middle right) with friends & family

Chloe Le Poidevin (centre right, with her family): “Guernseys are also good because they are compostable. I had a few destroyed by moths that I composted.

"I sent a Guernsey to the captain of the ship on which I sailed across the Pacific and he wore it when they sailed the Northwest Passage. They filmed a Discovery series. He’s currently on his way sailing to Antarctica to plant an earth flag there. At 2:34 in the video, you can see a man in a coloured Guernsey."

Watch: There is a thriving export market for Guernseys. At 2:34 in this video, sent to Express by Chloe Le Poidevin, a Guernsey can be seen keeping a sailor warm in tough sea conditions thousands of miles from the home of the iconic Guernsey.



James Jurkiewicz - Guernseyman now running a business in the health technology sector in the UK: "I love wearing my Guernsey now I live in Cornwall because it reminds me of home. I get lots of compliments whenever I wear my Guernsey and I'm always nice and warm."



Jerz Jurkiewicz - James' father, pictured with Paddington: "I've been wearing Guernseys since the 1950s. I always wear mine to walk my dog on the beach."


Flying Christine III volunteers with Guernsey jumpers - credit Chris George

Flying Christine III crew: Earlier this week, Express carried news of specially-designed traditional Guernseys recently produced by Guernsey Woollens to mark the 25th anniversary of Flying Christine III, St. John's marine ambulance. They are now part of the crew's winter uniform. 


Guernseys are also popular with several of the island's deputies. Express asked Deputies Peter Roffey, Heidi Soulsby, Lindsay De Sausmarez, Neil Inder, Sue Aldwell and Chris Blin why they cherish their Guernseys. 

Guernsey jumper - Peter Roffey

Peter Roffey: "I never consider why I wear Guernseys, any more than I ask myself why I wear Y-fronts or socks. To me, wearing a Guernsey really isn't 'a thing' - it's just normal.   

"I have worn Guernseys for 60 years, since my gran [the girl who was Torode] used to knit them for my brother and I. These days, of course I am reduced to machine-made specimens. I remember gran was a bit dismissive of them back in the day, but not nearly as scathing as she was of her octogenarian friends who cheated by using circular needles."


Guernsey jumper - Heidi Soulsby

Heidi Soulsby: "Wearing my Guernsey is like being as snug as a bug in a rug!"


Guernsey jumper - Lindsay De Sausmarez

Guernsey jumper shield

Lindsay De Sausmarez: “Guernseys have grown on me. As a child, I distinctly remember trying to look grateful whilst suppressing the urge to tear off and scream at the cardboard-like stiffness and unbearable scratchiness of that well-meaning but heart-sinking Christmas present. Either I’ve toughened up over the years or Guernseys have got softer.

"These days, I pretty much live in a Guernsey through the colder months. My favourite Guernsey came from a charity shop - the best place to get them as they come pre-softened by the previous owner - and it has a shield on one arm. If any Express reader can tell me what it is, I’d love to know."


Guernsey jumper - Neil Inder

Neil Inder: "This is my oldest Guernsey at around 30 years. My mother's line are Forest De La Rues and Mahys and it was hand knitted by her. The shoulders carry triangles that signify the sea and the hem diamonds that signify the chains of boats.

"The family lore is that great-grandfather Hedley Mahy always wore his Guernsey to ensure that if he ever drowned at sea they'd get his body to the right church. It's a family piece, the cuffs are frayed, there's paint spots on it, the hem is coming away, but I'll be buried in it! Or maybe one of the other ones that are less shot to pieces."


Guernsey jumper - Sue Aldwell

Sue Aldwell: "I am always proud to wear a Guernsey. It is part of who we are - a tradition going back generations. I saw my parents and grandparents wear them for work and leisure. When the world is racing on, always trying to improve with technology, the Guernsey reminds us that some things are simply a perfect design, which has stood the test of time."


Guernsey jumper - Chris Blin

Chris Blin: Another deputy who wears his Guernsey regularly. They were traditionally blue but are now available in a wide range of colours. 

Pictured: An event is taking place at the Tourist Information Centre today to mark the third annual 'Wear a Guernsey Day'. This year's event is raising funds for the RNLI.


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