On 30 August, 2012, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau held a reception at which he gave an update on the progress of the restoration work at Longwood (for further details, photos and text in French and English, see Michel's blog here). Among the invitees were the island's Governor, Mr Mark Capes, members of the Legislative Council, Eddie Palmer, UK representative for the Department for International Development (DfID), and Michael Dean, head of Tourism.
The restoration project was launched by the Fondation Napoléon, the Souvenir Napoléonien and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs at the end of 2010, and donations can still be made up to December 2012!
“I am very honoured to be able to say a few words today in my role as representative of the Fondation Napoléon on St Helena. As you are all aware, The Fondation Napoléon (established in 1987) is a registered charity committed to the encouragement of the study of and interest in the history of the First and Second Empires and the preservation of Napoleonic heritage. The Fondation has been a long term supporter of the French properties on St Helena and is a key partner in the Longwood House Restoration Project.
This project is a fine example of partnership working; partnerships between Countries, between Governments; partnerships within Countries, and within Governments, everybody working together to achieve a common goal, which is the preservation of the Napoleonic heritage on St Helena.
After a long wait and a lot of patience on the part of all involved, especially on the part of Michel and of Thierry Lentz the Fondation's Director, we are very happy to see the major work starting on the Generals' Quarters. I say happy but I am also a little sad as I have a lot of wonderful memories of these apartments which are now being carefully demolished. I can only imagine how Michel must feel having lived and worked in this building for more than 20 years. At the same time I am also more than a little excited that this project is happening at the same time as the airport project, and in my mind both projects are symbols of the St Helena that is to come – a St Helena with a sustainable economy built on a sustainable tourism industry, with a strong sense of our history and our community as its pillars.
We are very fortunate to have the backing of the Fondation and the support of so many international friends helping us to achieve this goal.”