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MP celebrates local charity’s 200th birthday in Parliament

June 7th 2018

North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale joined international maritime charity Sailors’ Society to mark its 200 years of supporting seafarers and their families around the world at a reception held in Parliament recently.


“90 per cent of everything we use on a daily basis comes by sea, and the seafarers who transport it often face tough conditions and make great personal sacrifices,” said Sir Roger.


“Representing a coastal constituency with a maritime heritage it was useful to be reminded about the care and support Sailors’ Society has provided to seafarers in need over the past 200 years, such as working to help seafarers look after their mental health during the long contracts at sea and supporting their families back at home in times of crisis.”


Guests at the event heard also from Kim Spooner, whose aunt and uncle lost their lives in the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. Kim talked about her family’s experience and the support they have received from Sailors’ Society over the years.

While Sailors’ Society is a global organisation, it has a port chaplain based at Tilbury docks. Annually, around 3,000 ships pass through the port, which plays a key role in London’s economy. However, most people will not be aware of the hundreds of thousands of seafarers who come into the docks every year.


Stuart Rivers, Sailors’ Society CEO, said: “MPs have a long history of supporting the charity’s work – very appropriately, our first Chairman was Bernard Shaw MP - and we are grateful to Sir Roger  for helping us celebrate our bicentenary. However, being 200 years old doesn’t mean we can sit back on our laurels, and we continue to change and adapt in order to better support the men and women who play such an important role in transporting our goods at sea.”  


Sailors’ Society was founded on 18 March 1818 to minister to the needs of destitute seafarers returning home from the Napoleonic Wars.


The charity now works in 30 countries around the world, supporting seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea, through the delivery of chaplaincy, education and the relief of poverty and distress.

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