St Helena’s history is either unknown of forgotten unless it is shared. I’ve chosen to write stories. Others take to acting out the events of history. Ralph Porter share his love of St Helena through his work as a passionate actor and tour guide and it’s with great sadness that I share news of his death to the St Helena Island community.
Since the mid 1980’s, the St Helena Accreditation Course has trained tour guides to take visitors and school children around the open paddocks, crumbling ruins and sandy foreshores. All potential guides must take part in the course, learning guiding skills, national park information and critically the complex and unique cultural story woven into the landscape.
I can’t remember exactly when I trained Ralph in the course, but needless to say it was a while ago. Many St Helena tour guides came and went over the decades, but there remained a core of people whose connection to the island was numbered in decades, not years. Ralph was one of those. As one of the long term guides on the island, he’s left a permanent impact on St Helena.
Ralph worked on board the ‘Lady Brisbane’ and did many night tours over the years. He also journeyed around the island with mobs of excited Grade 5 school children during the days. Ralph always loved his chance to spend a day on the island weaving colourful stories. Being as enamoured of the island’s history and uniqueness as he was you could be sure he gave everything he could to sharing an exciting but accurate tale.
He was always and forever an individual who did his tours his way in his style. Ralph had a dry humour, quick wit and loved how he could make an impact through words and phrases. A conversation with Ralph could take you anywhere, and was never dull. His acting bought St Helena’s stories alive.
2020 saw Ralph head to America to become engaged and head into new adventures. He made it there at exactly the same time as COVID19, which was not ideal. Ralph’s diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver was unexpected and his illness was short. He died in America on the 24th August 2020.
A Go Fund me page has been set up by his finance Jessica to cover medical costs and funeral arrangements. If you would like to contribute in memory of one of St Helena’s long term tour guides, then please follow the GoFundMe link below.
Even a small donation could help Jessica Plaut reach their fundraising goal. And if you can’t make a donation, it would be great if you could share the fundraiser to help spread the word. Thanks Ralph Porter for your love for and contribution to St Helena Island.