Dave's Good Luck Charm

Dave Allen and Liz Bowskill at the Connaught Extension
Dave Allen and Liz Bowskill at the Connaught Extension

FORMER Alderney Harbourmaster Dave Allen has maintained an almost forgotten superstition at the Island's haven for its old folk. 

He has had 'a lucky' two shilling piece from 1939, the year he was born, placed in the foundations of the new extension at he Connaught care home. 

Since the work began, the 81-year-old great grandfather has spend every day watching the near £2 million project take shape: "I'm interested in the technology and how everything has to be spot on with no room for error," he said.

"Even when it's raining I sit there in my hood and waterproof coat," he said. "It's like living history and I feel very lucky to have been part of it."

According to an age-old belief, a coin placed in the foundations is supposed to bring prosperity to the owners of a property who would never be without money again. 

"It's lovely to think that one day, in the years to come, someone might find this coin that I had put there and wonder who did it," said Dave, who moved into the Connaught around 18 months ago. 

Evacuated from the island in 1940 as a 'babe-in-arms', he grew up in West Heath, Birmingham: "It was all fields then and I remember there was a tiny village church named after St Anne, the same as ours here," he recalled. 

Like some of the other evacuees, his parents did not come back t Alderney: "They felt they were too old to start all over again," he explained. 

For a while, Dave and his friend and fellow Islander Emile Cosheril, travelled around Europe doing casual work. He also served in the Army and the Norwegian Navy before spending 14 years as Harbourmaster in Alderney where his late wife, whose maiden name was Pauline Gaudion worked at the Mignot Memorial Hospital and was also a States Member. 

After he retired from the Harbour, the couple ran a taxi firm at Launceston in Cornwall and then moved to York before Dave returned to Alderney 16 years ago. 

Liz Bowskill, operations manager at the Connaught, said: "Dave sits for hours with his 'roll ups' watching the building work. He is a real sweetheart."

Jake Woodnutt placing the coin
Jake Woodnutt placing the coin

"It was Kevin Gentle who mentioned the superstition about the coin, I thought it would be a good idea for Dave to put one in the foundation and Simon Wild, whose company is building the 13-room extension provided the 1939 coin from his collection.

Original Article from Alderney Journal - issue 1219.