Latest From The Watch Ashore

"Bon Voyage"

Last month, in collaboration with Elsie Jackson, who is the senior lecturer in charge of Engineering, and Becky Haldane, a Sailor Society chaplain at the Riverside Campus of The City of Glasgow College, our branch hosted a “Bon Voyage” evening for the engineering cadets who have finished phase one and are about to join their first ship.    Most of these cadets have never been on a ship before and have no family connections to the sea, and also for some it would be their first time abroad.    The purpose of the evening was to encourage them to keep in touch with each other, inform them of what support was available, and also to meet other seafarers who shared their experiences of life at sea.   It was difficult to know what information the cadets would be looking for so this was very much trial and error!  We had great support from John Hood, Seafarers UK, Ron Bailey former Harbour Master at Clydeport, and Joe O’Donnell, AOS, who along with a couple of members’ husbands and 2 cadets, who were further on in their training, chatted to the cadets and answered some of the queries raised.   We had gathered leaflets from SAIL and Seafarer Support to hand out as well as downloading the top 5 apps for Seafarers, and information graphs from ISWAN and Seafarerhelp.   The feedback has been that it was a successful evening and hopefully may be repeated with other cadet intakes.  

Titanic Anniversary Dinner

Come and Support the Titanic Anniversary Dinner raising funds MND Association. The event is to be held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel where the surviving stewardesses stayed when coming into Millbay Dock .The 5 Course meal will be taken from the Dinner Menu from the last dinner onboard the Titanic.(Not all 11 courses, Only 5 courses). The dress code for the dinner will be Black Tie(People have ask to dress in the era 1912 which is ok)

Christmas Greetings

It is that time of the year again when we think of all our Watch Ashore friends over the country – I have to say that I don’t know where the year has gone.  It must be a sign of getting older. It was so good to meet up with those of you who attended our AGM in Hull earlier this year; a good time was had by all in a lovely venue. The Hull branch members along with husbands supported us well and swelled our numbers at the informal buffet and dinner. They also provided us with some entertainment with a hysterical version of Cinderella. Plans are steaming ahead for our AGM next year which will be in Cheltenham, dates and details have already been circulated.  The hotel is in a good location with helpful staff and very nice rooms.  Please do consider coming. The Watch Ashore family has suffered some sad losses this year and our thoughts have been with those families and friends. Also I know many of you have struggled with poor health and I hope this next year will be a better healthily one. The Seafarers Link phone calls have been a great success and a blessing to many of you. What a wonderful way to keep in touch and our thanks to Chris Rankin for setting this up and to those volunteers who oversee it. I have again been privileged to represent the Watch Ashore at many events, the Annual General Meeting of Seafarers UK, the Mission to Seafarers Service at Paternoster, laying a wreath at Trinity Gardens at Merchant Navy Day. I did go to London for the Service at St Pauls but owing to the terrible tragedy earlier in the day, this Service was cancelled.  However, it was lovely to meet up with the Hull ladies for a cup of tea and a catch up. I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. Sue Williams National Chairman

Care Ashore

We at the Watch Ashore are so sorry to hear this news. There aren’t many places where ex MN Seafarers can feel at home. A charity supporting former merchant seamen in need could be forced to move from its Alfold home after a £15 million development project was refused on appeal. Care Ashore was founded in 1920 to assist ex-merchant seafarers and has been established in Alfold. The big money Springbok Estate application - which would have involved 400 new homes in the village - was submitted to help raise capital to improve the quality of its sheltered accommodation facilities. The Planning Inspectorate rejected the appeal on December 1 and the charity said it will assess its options, which include moving away. Berkeley Homes wins appeal Trever Goacher, chief executive at Care Ashore, said: “We are hugely disappointed by this decision. "The existing facilities at Care Ashore, which provides vital charitable support to seafarers in need, will very soon be no longer able to meet future quality standards. "We will take time to consider the inspector’s decision and discuss our options for the future with our trustees and development partner. "We have maintained that if this development does not go ahead, we will need to move to smaller premises elsewhere. "It’s saddening to once more have to consider a move away from the place we have called home for 70 years, and a disheartening prospect for our residents and staff who are an important part of the Alfold village community.”

The Freedom of Plymouth City

A ceremony took place yesterday in the Minster Church of St Andrews, Plymouth, whereby Plymouth City Council handed over the charter which gave the Merchant Navy the freedom of the city. It will be on display on the wall of the Seafarers Chapel so that visitors to the Church can see it. The Lord Mayor attended along with representatives of the Merchant Navy.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY

Chris Rankin MBE MNM, who is our W.A. National Secretary, laid this wreath on behalf of Seafarers UK on the Barbican Plymouth, following the main service on the Hoe, to commemorate our lost Mercantile Mariners and Fishermen.

Merchant Navy Day 2017

The Watch Ashore was well represented at the Merchant Navy Day Service at Tower Hill, the Chairman of London Branch, Mrs June Ellett read the Homage at the Commemorative Service at Trinity Gardens, and the National Chairman, Mrs Sue Williams laid a wreath.   Mrs Ellett did a splendid job and it was a just reward for all the years she has attended and for always promoting the Merchant Navy and the Watch Ashore wherever possible. Mrs Williams said that it was an honour to represent the Watch Ashore on Merchant Navy Day and lay a wreath at Trinity Gardens.   It was a very moving service and well supported, also well done to London Transport, this notice board was on display at Tower Hill tube station.       

June 25th Day of the Seafarer

Seafarers Matter ​This year, once again, 25 June will mark the annual Day of the Seafarer (DotS). DotS was established in a resolution adopted by the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila to adopt the revised STCW Convention. Its stated purpose is to recognize the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole. The resolution "encourages Governments, shipping organizations, companies, shipowners and all other parties concerned to duly and appropriately promote the Day of the Seafarer and take action to celebrate it meaningfully". This year our theme is "Seafarers Matter". For 2017, we want to particularly engage ports and seafarer centres to demonstrate how much seafarers matter to them.  The idea is for ports and seafarer centres to share and showcase best practices in seafarer support and welfare. We want them to organize special activities for seafarers on that Day, for example: social event organised in port to celebrate seafarers public open day at seafarer centres free wi-fi in port for a day etc.

Seafarers UK AGM

Sue Williams, was invited as National Chairman of The Watch Ashore, to the Mansion House in London for the Annual General Meeting of Seafarers UK. It was opened by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, who then chaired the meeting.   It was most interesting and she met some lovely people afterwards, all of whom were interested in the Watch Ashore and what we do. 

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