Font Size:
  • A  A  A  A  

News Archive 2012

December 2012
Did You Serve During the Battle of the Atlantic?

2013 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. Do you know of someone who served in the Merchant Navy on Atlantic and Russian convoys? If you do we would be interested to hear from you with details of their wartime service and whether they would be happy to be interviewed about their experiences. Email: general@shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

 

Seafarers UK Supports Shipwrecked Mariners

Society awarded £250,000 grant from Seafarers UK.

This grant will support our work in alleviating financial need among former fishermen, merchant mariners and their dependants. Seafarers UK are the premier fundraising organisation that supports mariners www.seafarers-uk.org.

 

Legacy giving highlighted

The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society is encouraging UK citizens to remember their favourite charities and make a Will in November as part of National ‘Make a Will Month’.

Just 40 percent of of people currently have a Will and according to the 2012 Legacy Market Snapshot only 7 percent of UK citizens leave a gift to charity in their Will.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has been providing financial support to retired and incapacitated seafarers since 1839 and the Charity’s Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “Legacy giving is very important to us and in some years accounts for up to 20 percent of our annual income, so we are greatly indebted to the generosity of those who make a gift to us in their Wills. However, sadly for a maritime nation, seafaring and benevolence now has a lower profile than many other causes and it concerns us that many might not think to remember us, and the work that we do, in their Wills. Seafarers often retire on meagre incomes, so the funding we receive through legacies helps us to support seafarers and their families within local communities.”

Although the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is one of the UK’s smaller charities, its annual grant expenditure in the past year of £1.47 million allowed it to provide financial assistance in 2,542 cases of need ensuring that many former mariners have an improved quality of life and peace of mind. These cases ranged from replacing broken household items, settling utility bill arrears to providing mobility aids such as stairlifts and rent deposits for homeless fishermen.

The Society believes that promoting this valuable source of income and increasing awareness of how easy it is to leave a legacy will benefit all charities and those who need their help.

For further information contact the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society on 01243 789329 or visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

 

October 2012

Cruise ship haul gifted to charity

A Dover shipping company – George Hammond Plc – has donated a haul of foreign coins from across the globe to maritime charity the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

George Hammond, which has been carrying out volunteer work as one of the Society’s Honorary Agents since 1969, acquired the collection from cruise ship, the Seabourn Pride, whose crew had collected the currency from their passengers.

The coins originated from all over the world: from the USA and the Philippines, to Vietnam and Egypt.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society provides support to seafarers in need, many of whom often retire on a meagre income leading to financial hardship. The Society therefore relies on Honorary Agents like George Hammond to be the ‘eyes and ears’ in the local community.

James Ryeland, Company Director at George Hammond, has taken on the role of supporting current beneficiaries and identifying retired seafarers living in Dover who could benefit from the Society’s help. The responsibility was previously held by his father and grandfather before that. There has been an Honorary Agent of the Society in Dover since 1840.

As a key port area, Mr Ryeland believes there could be many former seafarers suffering in silence and is urging these people to come forward for support.

Mr Ryeland, said: “The Society has been supporting the local seafaring community in Dover for over 170 years. It provides vital assistance to those who are in need of financial help, whether that is to help with buying essential household items, repairs or helping to pay off utility debts.

“I want to urge ex-seafarers and their widows living in Dover to get in touch if they are in need of support and not to suffer in silence. The coins donated by the cruise company will help the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society to continue its work supporting seafarers in need in the local area.”

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “The work that George Hammond undertakes is crucial in helping us support seafarers who often have to survive on very small pensions and with few if any, savings. Our Honorary Agents are the eyes and ears for the Society in local communities, ensuring that retired mariners and their families in need are able to access our support.

“The Seabourn Pride’s gift of foreign coins from around the world is one of the more unusual donations we have received and is very welcome and will help us to continue providing support to the maritime community.”

Although the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is one of the UK’s smaller charities its annual grant expenditure in the past year of £1.47 million allowed it to provide financial assistance in 2,542 cases of need ensuring that many former mariners are able to have an improved quality of life or some peace of mind.

For further information contact the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society on 01243 789329 or visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

 

Christmas card appeal launched

Leading seafaring charity the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has officially launched its annual Christmas Card Appeal with the help of the Mayor of Chichester, Councillor Anne Scicluna.

The charity, which offers financial support to retired and incapacitated seafarers, launched the seasonal Christmas card shop at its North Pallant Premises in Chichester on Monday (15th October).

This year’s collection of cards features 12 new designs, many of which feature maritime scenes and are exclusively available through the Society with every penny raised going directly to help people in need – many of whom have spent their lives at sea or who have been involved in a wreck, to ensure they, and their families, enjoy the standard of living they deserve.

Throughout its 173-year history, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has helped in hundreds of thousands of cases, providing support to the seafaring, and ex-seafaring community at times of crisis and financial need. The Society also works with seafarers who have made their living at sea, but found their livelihoods cut short either through injury or illness.

The charity specialises in providing specific items which are needed in a crisis, such as replacement washing machines or fridge freezers and covers the cost of equipment required due to a medical condition, such as mobility scooters, stairlifts, adjustable beds or riser/recliner chairs. The Society also helps with priority debts and essential household repairs – things which can make a huge difference to an individual’s quality of life but which they just cannot afford because they are on a low fixed income and have no savings.

Although the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is one of the UK’s smaller charities its annual grant expenditure in the past year of £1.47 million allowed it to provide financial assistance in 2,542 cases of need ensuring that many families and individuals living alone are able to enjoy a standard of living and quality of life that they could otherwise not afford.

Commodore Malcolm Williams CBE RN, Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society explains.

“Although shipping levels have reduced over recent years, the risks still exist with injuries and deaths at sea unfortunately still all too common and with shipwrecks happening more frequently than you might imagine. The UK’s merchant seafarers and fishermen travel treacherous seas every day – if you look around your home at the consumer goods we take for granted, the food on your table, it’s quite obvious the standard of living we enjoy would not be possible without merchant mariners and fishermen.

“We believe the Society’s Christmas, Birthday and Correspondence cards make a most attractive collection and the Christmas Appeal is our only national fundraising activity. All cards purchased and donations made make a vital contribution towards our life-enhancing, and sometimes life-changing, work.”

To purchase the cards, either visit the Society’s shop at 1 North Pallant Chichester (open 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 1pm Saturday (from 10th November), vist the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society website, or call 01243 789 329 to request a brochure.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society relies greatly on the generosity of the public and it very much needs your help in order to provide assistance for the next 173 years. Donating is easy – either visit the Society’s website at www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk, or send your donation to the Society’s office at 1 North Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TL.

 

Society hosts unique Titanic book signing

Author Shares Unique Perspective on Titanic Tragedy to Mark 100 Year Anniversary.

The author of a new book, which presents a unique perspective on the Titanic tragedy to mark the 100th anniversary of the original accident report, will hold a book signing at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society HQ in Chichester on Monday 15th October.

Rear Admiral John Lang, a former Chairman of the Society, spent 36 years serving in both the Merchant and Royal Navies before becoming head of the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch. He is the first to write a book on the tragedy from the unique perspective of a marine accident investigator.

Unlike the original accident report which stated that the loss was due to a collision with an iceberg brought about by excessive speed, Lang identifies a chain of events extending back over several years that caused the accident. In his book, he identifies the single action that triggered the disaster, the three crucial causes and the many underlying reasons that contributed to the best known marine accident in history. Although none of the conclusions are, in themselves, very surprising they have never been presented in this way before and with such clarity.

The book signing will be held at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society HQ at 1 North Pallant in Chichester on Monday October 15th from 2.15pm – 3.15pm. All members of the public are welcome.

For more information contact Julia Allison at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society 01243 789329 jallison@shipwreckedmariners.org.uk.

 

Maritime heroes honoured for bravery

Admiral Sir Peter Abbott Presents the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s Annual Skill and Gallantry Awards.

Maritime heroes who risked their lives in dangerous sea rescues were honoured at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards in London yesterday (2nd October).Presented annually since 1851, the awards recognise those who go above and beyond their call of duty at sea.

This year’s awards were presented to Helmsman Roger Jackson who battled rough seas to save four lives after a boat capsized in the River Exe estuary; the crew of ‘Rescue 193’ from 771 Naval Air Squadron in Cornwall who rescued a yachtsman in dangerous conditions; and Helmsman Darren Crowe from Berwickshire who saved the life of a man trapped in a narrow tunnel on a rising tide.

Master Aircrewman Richard Taylor from Holyhead in Wales was presented with an Individual Commendation for showing courage and determination whilst saving the lives of two merchant seamen. Meanwhile, Helmsman Roger Jackson was awarded the Lady Swaythling Trophy for an ‘outstanding feat of seamanship’.

On the evening of 23rd October 2011 Helmsman Jackson, along with crew members Andrew Williams and Mark Champion, launched their lifeboat in gale force conditions following reports of a capsized inflatable boat.With four metre high waves to contend with and limited radio contact, locating the casualties was difficult. On reaching the distressed boat, Helmsman Jackson and his crew raced to recover four people, before they were separated and cast adrift in the stormy seas.

Helmsman Jackson directed the casualties to swim to the lifeboat one at a time while he skilfully manoeuvered his craft through the steep waves as close as he dared to the upturned boat while also having to avoid dangerous debris floating in the water.

The Edward and Maisie Lewis Award, for an ‘outstanding air/sea rescue’, was awarded to Lieutenant Commander Mike Luscombe RN, Aircraft Commander, Captain Martyn Roskilly RM, Lieutenant Jason Sawyer RN and Sergeant Antony Russell RM from 771 Naval Air Squadron who battled atrocious weather conditions to save the lives of two yachtsmen.

The crew fought strong headwinds and heavy rain to reach the survivors and faced mountainous seas and disabled voice communications whilst completing the rescue. When the lifeboat was capsized by a large wave, Sergeant Russell risked his own life, diving underneath the raft to recover one of the yachtsmen.

Helmsman Darren Crowe was presented with the Emile Robin Award for an ‘outstanding sea rescue’ after he saved the life of a man who had fallen into the sea from St Abbs Head, Berwickshire and became trapped in a narrow tunnel on a rising tide.

He was praised for his professionalism, resourcefulness and courage, putting his own life on the line when he swam into the tunnel to reach the victim, being swept onto the sharp rocks on several occasions before successfully getting the man out of danger.

The final award, the Individual Commendation, was given to Master Aircrewman Richard Taylor for an outstanding rescue.

In the early hours of the 27th November 2011, the crew of ‘Rescue 122’ from RAF Valley launched a search and rescue mission after the ship Swanland broke in two and sank in stormy conditions, forcing the survivors to abandon the ship in dinghies.

Master Aircrewman Richard Taylor was winched down to the dinghies to search for survivors, but the high seas caused the winch operator’s system to malfunction throwing him into the sea on several occasions.

At one point, a large wave flipped the dinghy he was searching over, pinning him beneath it and he had to swim back through the upturned craft still attached to his hoist cable. He subsequently winched the two survivors to safety.

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners, Commodore Malcolm Williams CBE RN said:“The Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards is an important event in the maritime calendar and an opportunity to honour those who put themselves at risk every day for seafarers and members of the public. It is extremely impressive to hear the stories of courage and bravery shown by our award winners. The winners chosen have all displayed great professionalism and courage: they have done the seafaring community proud.”

Founded in 1839 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society aims to provide financial help to merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependents who are in need. Support is provided to ex-seafarers or their widows, either as regular grants or as one-off payments to meet particular needs. For more information on the Society visit the Who We Are page.
ENDS

Picture Caption 1: L-R Captain Martyn Roskilly RM, Lieutenant Commander Mike Luscombe RN, Aircraft Commander, President of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Admiral Sir Peter Abbott GBE, KCB, Sergeant Anthony Russell RM and Lieutenant Jason Sawyer RN

 

Payment of trustees is the antithesis of the ethos of the charity sector

So says Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams in his letter published in ‘Third Sector’ 2 October 2012.

The letter reads:

Payment of trustees is the antithesis of the ethos of the charity sector: to me, unpaid trusteeship defines us. Going down the payment route will lead to cases of conflict between management and trustees and, within five years, I guarantee we will have scandals resulting from greed. Public confidence in charities will be sapped and the genie could never be put back in the bottle.

 

August 2012

Details of the 173rd Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society AGM Announced

The One Hundred and Seventy Third Annual General Meeting of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society will be held at Fishmongers’ Hall, London EC4 on Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 at 1200.

Members and friends of the Society wishing to attend should notify The Chief Executive at Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, 1 North Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TL

 

Swell artist shows true colours

Winner Announced in Charity Maritime Art Competition.

Celina Rupp from Orkney left the opposition in her wake to be named the winner of a maritime art competition organised by one of the UK’s oldest seafaring charities, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

The winning image ‘Creel Boat at Sunset’ is an acrylic on canvas and depicts the boat on the sea at Orkney. Celina is a jewellery designer and artist and has lived in Orkney for the majority of her life. Celina is heavily inspired by the dramatic seas around Orkney, for which the island is renowned. Sailing boats and in particular the traditional Orkney Yole also play a large part in Celina’s designs.

The runner up in the competition was Joanne Smyth, from Belfast with her image ‘Stern On’ acrylic on canvas. Joanne is currently studying MArch at the University of Ulster, Belfast. MArch explores architecture that responds to the complex and changing context of architecture and urbanism and the transformations taking place in society.

Run across the charity’s Facebook Page and via the charity’s website, participants were encouraged to create an original piece of artwork with a maritime theme. The competition received 24 entries and these were whittled down to three finalists in a public vote which secured 187 votes via the Facebook page.

The competition was judged by marine artist Geoff Hunt whose work features on the covers of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin books. Watch him talking about the competition in the video below:

Geoff Hunt was President of Britain’s prestigious Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) between 2003 and 2008. The RSMA is a charitable organisation which promotes marine painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking of the highest standard.

Geoff said of the winner: “There was a varied stylistic range across all the paintings. I thought the winning painting showed the confrontation of the sea particularly since it shows sunset which is a point at sea when you start to wonder, when dark comes down. This is why the final choice went to her.”

Between 2011 and 2012 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support to retired seafarers in need, made regular and one-off grants in over 2,500 cases to retired sailors and their families, amounting to over £1.4 million nationally. The number of requests it receives for support are anticipated to increase further in 2012.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “The Society was extremely impressed with the quality of artwork entered and we even received an entry from the winner of our previous maritime limerick writing competition, Maggie Ballinger! The competition was a creative way to celebrate the contribution of those who have, or are working at sea, whether fishing its depths, or transporting the products we take for granted in our daily lives. Every year we see many cases of people who, having dedicated their lives to working at sea, now find themselves in financial difficulty.”

For more information about the work of the Society go to the homepage. To donate to the charity please text SMSY11 and the amount £2, £5 or £10 and send.

 

June 2012

Charities Gripped by an Obsession

The Third Sector is in the grip of an obsession: Impact Measurement.

Reporting impact is something that charities have been doing in their own ways for a long time; some do it very well, others not so well. However, informing your supporters about what you are doing and achieving is fundamental if a charity is to attract and secure long term support.

But “impact measurement” is now becoming a fashionable infatuation in charity circles with countless articles, expensive seminars and conferences, being pushed by “charitable” organisations that see a niche role for themselves and a source of income acting as a third party between charities and funders.

I speak as CE of a benevolent society and accept that my knowledge of the whole sector is limited. However, in my experience benevolent charities are very aware of the impact that their financial support can have whether its replacing the cooker that no longer works, the washing machine that is vital on a daily basis because someone in the house is incontinent, covering bankruptcy fees, a rent deposit for a homeless person, paying for a new door for someone in the outer Hebrides or providing a stairlift so that a widow doesn’t have to crawl upstairs to wash and sleep. Lets take the latter: it solves an immediate practical problem, it restores a sense of dignity, and it may enable that person to stay in their own home. The only way to convey the impact is by description; it’s essentially qualitative and no clever metrics can do that: and we and other charities have been doing that for years.

We are at risk of making a meal out of something that is relatively straightforward requiring common sense and judgement to convey and assess the worth of what a charity is doing. It also risks the temptation to claim more than is being achieved. For example, in the case of the stairlift quoted above, the temptation might be to claim that it enabled the lady to stay in her own home but that would be very difficult to prove because there are so many factors involved in such a decision: yet to do so might paint a better picture of your achievements and help to secure funding.

Let us take a hypothetical homeless charity; when do you measure your achievement, after one, two, five or ten years – even if you are able to maintain contact with those you have helped. If you are aiming to secure a government contract (and this is no criticism of any specific charity) then you might be tempted to measure your achievement in such a way that it presents you in the best light. After all if you are strictly honest and express doubt will you get the funding? But to have got one person off the street for even two weeks is surely worth doing and might pay dividends for that person many years later. Charities have to have faith in what they do and so do their funders: it is not a science.

The high priests of measurement exhort charities to have “theories of change” giving a spurious intellectual backing to what they are doing. Many of these are the fancy statement of the obvious and would need to be supported by rigorous academic research over many years if they were to have real validity, and few charities can afford that. Does the Emperor have any clothes?

And let us not forget the burden of time and cost placed on small charities, its all very well if you are a major national body that could commission research or have the internal capacity to conduct it. There is a danger that the money gets diverted to them rather than the smaller charities for whom it would have a disproportionately greater impact for the good of society.

But I have a wider concern, and that is, that by pushing their “measurement” agenda they will discourage funders from supporting worthwhile causes that have difficulty “measuring” their worth. One of the beauties of the charity sector, indeed its essence, is that someone identifies a need and decides to do something about it. If the need is really there and they are making a difference then their charity will, hopefully (but not always), thrive and grow, if not it may wither and die. But so what, only the narrow minded would see that as a waste. We are not the public or private sector from where I suspect many of the “measurement mafia” come from thinking that they need to introduce more rigour into the chaotic charity sector.Neither of them can lay claim to perfection in their own previous fields of work.

Clearly a key driver in this push for greater measurement is the competition for funding and the “measurement mafia” are creating an intermediary role for themselves. They will say that they understand that one size does not fit all but the fact is their nostrums are in danger of raising the bar for funding for many causes that cannot be easily or readily assessed but are nonetheless worthy of support: again there has to be an element of faith through common sense judgement.

The best advice I could give to a potential philanthropists to go out there and see with your own eyes what is being done and use your judgement to assess its worth. Do you need a third party to tell you which charity is worth supporting. Requiring charities to generate mounds of paperwork and emulating the public sector is not what we need.

Knowing and reporting impact is unquestionably necessary and we have a duty to our donors and the wider public to do so but let us keep a sense of proportion and appreciate some potentially unwelcome and unintended consequences of the high priests of measurements lecturing and raising the bar for obtaining funding.

Malcolm Williams
Chief Executive, Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society

 

May 2012

Ahoy there me ‘arties!

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Launches Maritime Art Competition.

One of the UK’s oldest seafaring charities is launching a national maritime art competition in celebration of life at sea open to all budding artists.
The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support to retired seafarers in need, is launching its maritime art competition on 20th May in celebration of European Maritime Day.

Being run across social media platforms and via the charity’s website www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk, participants are being encouraged to create an original piece of artwork with a maritime theme, for example celebrating the men and women who dedicate their lives to working at sea, a seascape or shipping. This could be a watercolour, oil, pastel, acrylic painting or a sketch.

The winner will be announced ahead of World Art Day on 10th August 2012. The competition will be judged by marine artist Geoff Hunt whose work features on the covers of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin books.

Geoff Hunt was President of Britain’s prestigious Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) between 2003 and 2008. The RSMA is a charitable organisation which promotes marine painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking of the highest standard.

Fishing remains the most dangerous occupation while over 50 per cent of our international trade, by value, is moved by sea.
Between 2011 and 2012 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in over 2,500 cases to retired sailors and their families, amounting to over £1.4 million nationally. The number of requests it receives for support are anticipated to increase further in 2012.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “We are delighted to be launching this new competition which is a creative way to celebrate the contribution of those who have, or are working at sea, whether fishing its depths, or transporting the products we take for granted in our daily lives. Every year we see many cases of people who having dedicated their lives to working at sea now find themselves in financial difficulty.”

European Maritime Day is designed to highlight the importance of the seas and oceans and the challenges facing maritime regions and sectors.
To enter the competition and for more information visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or the Society’s Facebook page.

Entrants are encouraged to create their artwork and then photograph them and upload the image to the Facebook page. Three finalists will be selected by public vote based on the number of ‘likes’ their image receives in a public Facebook gallery. The deadline to upload images to the page is 5pm on 18th July. The public will have until 26th July to select their finalists and a winner will be selected and announced before 10th August.

If you do not have a digital camera you can post original works to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society c/o Jen Cooke, Acceleris, Town Centre House, Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate, HG1 1DQ. Only finalist images will be returned. If you submit an image by post which is not shortlisted you can arrange to have this sent back to you at the price of postage.

For more information about the work of the Society visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk. To donate to the charity please text SMSY11 and the amount £2, £5 or £10 and send. To donate more please visit the Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/shipwreckedmariners

 

April 2012

Concert Review by Society Trustee Anthony Fawcett

The Wreck of the Titanic Concert – Shipley Arts Festival, Windlesham House School Sunday 29 April 2012.

The programme opened with Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Caveor for those purists The Hebrides Op.26, conducted by Andrew Bernardi,who leads the Bernardi Music Group. The young musicians came from Charterhouse School, the University of Chichester Musical Academy (UCMA), the West Sussex County Youth Orchestra, the Gifted and Talented String Academy.

Fingal’s Cave provided the perfect introduction to the programme themed on the sea, with its lyrical themes conveying the power of the sea and the stunning beauty of the cave. Joyce Chen from Charterhouse School played the solo violin part in Ralph Vaughn William’s Lark Ascending for violin and orchestra. Joyce Chen played this demanding solo piece with a high level of technical skill and the emotion required to draw out from the cadenzas the sense of freedom of the lark as it sings and soars above the ground upon which we earthlings reside.

After the interval, Dr Adam Swayne, the Regional Coordinator of the UCMA, took up the baton. He told the audience about the work of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, in whose aid the concert was being given. The final piece was David Bedford’s Wreck of the Titanic for which the orchestra was joined by the pupils of William Penn Primary School both assingers and musicians and the adult choir drawn from the Shoreham-Singers-by-Sea, the Ditchling Singers and the Coolham Choir. For the musicians of the William Penn Primary School this was only their second performance. Bedford, who died last year, had a varied career working with Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells amongst many others in the pop world and also composing avant garde classical works. He taught music in secondary modern schools and composed many works for young people to perform.

The Wreck of the Titanic was composed for school choirs in Cumbria, Lancashire and Liverpool and was commissioned by those local authorities. The composition is in 8 movements with a narrator and baritone, Xavier Hetherington, reading moving extracts from contemporary accounts and survivors’ diaries. The second movement The Construction of the Titanic begins with the percussive beats using metallic sounds to conjure up the noise of riveting the hull. The gaiety on board ship is represented by the Titanic Band, which plays melodies of the time such as Oh you beautiful doll and Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

While the orchestra plays shuddering tremolos in the low strings that become gradually more insistent and louder, the band continues to play. As the Titanic sinks the percussion beats out the insistent Morse code CQD (Come Quick Danger) and SOS, which is taken up by the orchestra. Elena Stiglitz,the Girl Soloist from William Penn Primary School, picks up the haunting words of Marjorie Collyer aged 7 “Then mother dressed me, took me by the hand, led me upstairs, I had a big dolly but we were in such a hurry we left it behind.” The Adult choir sings “I can’t leave my husband, oh please let him come in the lifeboat. I don’t want to live if he can’t come with me.”

The singing is interspersed with American folk tunes. As the Titanic sinks the orchestra plays massive tragic minor chords, which gives way to quietness and lower and lower chords as the Titanic sinks into the deep with its remaining passengers. In the final movement the chorus starts to sing Eternal Father Strong to Save. The audience rose to join with the chorus in singing the hymn of the sea. The orchestra then returned to the earlier theme of the first movement The Starry Sky as if to say that the stars are looking down unconcerned on the scene of a calm sea.

The orchestra was under the inspirational leadership of Adam Swayne. While it was stiffened with a number of professional musicians from UCMA and other places, they, for the most part, did not take leading roles preferring the third fiddle’s desk leaving the young to take the first desk. Andrew Bernardi led the Titanic Band and Mathew Pollard, a tutor at UCMA provided the all important percussive.

Morse code rhythm which underpinned the sixth movement and the composition as a whole. The concert was a great success and the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society was delighted to be associated with it and would like to thank Adam Swayne most sincerely for thinking of us.

Anthony Fawcett

 

Further Titanic concerts planned to raise money for the Shipwrecked Mariners

University of Chichester Music Academy Will Support Impoverished Seafarers With Titanic Concert.

Students from the University of Chichester Music Academy (UCMA) are raising money for impoverished seafarers with a series of concerts to commemorate the loss of the Titanic.

‘The Wreck of the Titanic Concert’ will take place at Windlesham House School and Charterhouse School, with the West Sussex Gifted and Talented String Academy, the Charterhouse Orchestra, Shoreham Singers-by-Sea, William Penn Primary School and members of West Sussex Music Service.
Based in Chichester, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society supports retired and impoverished seafarers and made regular and one-off grants in 2,644 cases amounting to over £1.5 million last year.

The performances, part of the Shipley Arts Festival, will feature David Bedford’s composition for youth ensembles, The Wreck of the Titanic, which was composed for Liverpool Music Service as a way of bringing young musicians of all ages and abilities together to create a large-scale commemoration of the tragedy which took place 100 years ago on April 15. The concert will also include Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Vaughn-Williams ever popular The Lark Ascending.

Dr Adam Swayne, Senior Lecturer in Music at UCMA which is aimed at young people aged 8 – 18, made the decision to support the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

“We are a university situated by the coast and so we are all too aware of the dangers of the sea. Given the subject matter of these concerts, we felt the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society would be a worthwhile cause to support. Fundraising for the Society was also a personal decision as I was brought up on cruise ships myself, my parents both worked on the P and O Canberra liner before it was commissioned for the Falklands conflict in 1982, so I have firsthand experience of both the entertainment and military side of cruise ships.”

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Malcolm Williams, said: “The Society handled 729 new applications for assistance last year which only goes to show help for the often vulnerable retired seafaring community is still very much needed. It is therefore fantastic to receive support from the University of Chichester Music Academy to allow us to continue providing financial assistance to seafarers and their families from across the whole of the UK.”

As well as providing financial grants, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society also supplies household items such as washing machines or disabled adaptations in times of need.

The concerts will take place on Friday 27 April in Godalming and Sunday April 29 in Pulborough. Tickets for both concerts are available from The Capitol Theatre Horsham, North Street Horsham, West Sussex County RH12 1RG. Tel: 01403 750220 www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

For more information about the work of the Society visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or call 01243 789329.

 

Support our Wolf Run Fundraiser

Royal Caribbean International Chief Officer, Simon Lockwood, has set himself a fantastic challenge to compete in April’s Wolf Run and to raise funds for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society at the same time.

The Wolf Run is Wild Running – a unique combination of three kinds of off-road running: mud runs, trail runs and obstacle runs. The only Wild Run in the UK, it’s a hardcore 10K run across raw natural terrain, including open ground, woodland, lakes and thick mud.

Running in a pack, or as a lone wolf, competitors tackle a series of seriously tough obstacles – both man-made and natural – designed to test mental and physical strength, skill and stamina. It includes running, jumping, wading, crawling and swimming through a course designed to challenge on every level.

When asked why he chose to run on behalf of the Society Simon answered: “I am not an athletic person but I was persuaded (by my better half) to take part in this charity run. We wanted to raise money for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society because of the work you do in supporting families from the seafaring community.”

The event takes place around Leamington Spa on the 7thApril. Full detail of this gruelling challenge can be found at www.thewolfrun.com

Speaking on behalf of the Society, Stephen Fisher said “Running 10K is a challenge in itself but this just takes it to a completely different level. From all the crew here at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society we wish Simon every success in his challenge and sincerely thank him for helping support the Charity’s work”.

Simon has set up a fundraising page on Just Giving and we encourage you to lend him, and the Society, your support by visiting www.justgiving.com/lockwoodsimon.

 

March 2012

St Monans Collecting Mine Back In Service Congratulations to John Kinsman, the Society’s new Honorary Agent for St. Monans in Fife.

Since his appointment John has campaigned to have the old sea mine, situated at St.Monans harbour for over 50 years, reinstated as a collecting box for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

With nobody to look after the mine’s upkeep it was taken over by the St. Monans Community Council as a landmark in 2006, but John was very keen to take back responsibility and so actively sort support from both the local Council and Member of Scottish Parliament, Roderick Campbell. With the help of Councillors’ Donald MacGregor and Elizabeth Riches it was agreed the mine should revert to the Society’s use for collecting donations towards its valuable work supporting the seafaring community.

After arranging for it to be refurbished the resplendent mine, in its newly painted red and white livery, was officially brought back into service on Thursday 29th March.

The Society’s sincere thanks go to John for all his efforts. We’re sure the mine will now be in service raising funds for many years to come.

 

Students raise funds for Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society

University of Chichester Music Academy Will Support Impoverished Seafarers With Titanic Concert.

Students from the University of Chichester Music Academy (UCMA) are raising money for impoverished seafarers at a concert on Saturday 14 April in Southampton to commemorate the loss of the Titanic.

The recital, which will take place at the Guildhall with the Southampton Concert Orchestra, Southampton’s oldest established amateur symphony orchestra and Contemporary Music for All (CoMA), is expected to attract 900 people.

Based in Chichester, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society supports retired and impoverished seafarers and made regular and one-off grants in 2,644 cases amounting to over £1.5 million last year.

The concert features a combination of classical and modern music and will include the performance of a piece entitled ‘The Sinking of the Titanic’ by Gavin Bryars, especially composed to imagine the sounds above and below the water at the moment of the tragedy. This will be a unique event for the audience, created as a poignant and moving audio-visual experience, with lighting and projection to match.

Dr Adam Swayne, Senior Lecturer in Music at UCMA which is aimed at young people aged 8 – 18, made the decision to support the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

“We are a university situated by the coast and so we are all too aware of the dangers of the sea. Given the subject matter of these concerts, we felt the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society would be a worthwhile cause to support. Fundraising for the Society was also a personal decision as I was brought up on cruise ships myself, my parents both worked on the P and O Canberra liner before it was commissioned for the Falklands conflict in 1982, so I have firsthand experience of both the entertainment and military side of cruise ships.”

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Malcolm Williams, said: “The Society handled 729 new applications for assistance last year which only goes to show help for the often vulnerable retired seafaring community is still very much needed. It is therefore fantastic to receive support from the University of Chichester Music Academy to allow us to continue providing financial assistance to seafarers and their families from across the whole of the UK.”

As well as providing financial grants, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society also supplies household items such as washing machines or disabled adaptations in times of need.

Tickets for the concert are available from Southampton Guildhall, tel: 023 8063 2601, or online at www.livenation.co.uk.

For more information about the work of the Society visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or call 01243 789329.

 

Winner of seafaring limerick competition announced

Renowned English Poet Ian McMillan, The Bard of Barnsley, Announces Winning Maritime Limerick.

The winner of a national competition to find the best maritime limerick in celebration of life at sea has been announced by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society today ahead of World Poetry Day on 21 March.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support and advice to retired seafarers in need, launched its inaugural Seafaring Limerick Competition, which was judged by the Bard of Barnsley, the renowned English poet Ian McMillan. Ian, who is poet-in-residence for English National Opera and regular presenter of R3’s The Verb, has strong maritime connections, with his father having served in the Royal Navy.

The competition, which received 120 entries, was won by Maggie Ballinger from Sheffield, who penned this offering:

The swell, and the towering wave,
Cover many a seafarer’s grave.
So to land Britain’s dish,
(What are chips, without fish?),
A man must be strong, skilled and brave.

Maggie entered the competition after watching a programme about a mariner’s experience of 30 metre waves which scientists claimed impossible until proven credible, resulting in shipping lane changes. All her life, Maggie’s greatest fear has been drowning and as a result she has the greatest admiration for anyone who willingly goes to sea.

The competition was promoted across the charity’s social media platforms and website www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk. Participants were encouraged to pen a five-line poem about the ocean and the men and women who dedicate their lives to working at sea, and all the challenges this entails.

Ian said of the poem: “Maggie’s limerick actually covers a number of emotions which is hard to do in five lines: it rhymes, it’s got rhythm, it’s a proper limerick.”

Britain’s continuing reliance on the sea is often overlooked, but 95 percent of all imports and 75 percent of exports are still transported by sea, with the £56 billion UK maritime sector – more than aerospace and agriculture combined – directly employing over 410,000 people.

Between 2010 and 2011 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in 2,644 cases to retired sailors and their families, amounting to over £1.5 million nationally.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “We were delighted with the response we got to this competition, and the creativity of people given just a five line format. We really like the winner’s limerick, which is light-hearted, but a serious message on the dangers of the sea and the reliance we have on the sea as an island nation.

“Having someone with the talent and reputation of Ian McMillan judge our competition was a great honour for the Society and is especially fitting given his own maritime connections. Every year we see cases of people who have dedicated so much of their lives to our seas and the Society aims to support them in times of difficulty.”

World Poetry Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1999 to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.

The winner received a recording of her poem being read by Ian in his distinctive Northern style as well as an engraved barometer from the society.
Ian is poet-in-residence for English National Opera, The Academy of Urbanism and Barnsley FC. He presents The Verb every week on BBC R3 and appears regularly on Pick of the Week, Quote Unquote, The Arts Show, You & Yours and this spring, Coast. He’s Yorkshire TV’s Investigative Poet and Humberside Police’s Beat Poet. He was recently castaway on Desert Island Discs and featured with his Orchestra on The South Bank Show. His rip-roaring poetry shows are legendary. For more information on Ian please visit his official website.

For more information about the work of the Society visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk.

 

February 2012

Charity sets sail with poetry competition

National Poetry Competition – Renowned English Poet Ian McMillan Set to Judge Budding Maritime Bards.

With sailors well renowned for waxing lyrical about their experiences at sea, one of the UKs oldest seafaring charities is hoping to embrace this inherent love of linguistic creativity by launching a national limerick competition to find the best seafaring poem in celebration of life at sea.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support and advice to retired seafarers in need, is launching its inaugural Seafaring Limerick Competition, set to be judged by the Bard of Barnsley and renowned English poet Ian McMillan, ahead of World Poetry Day on 21 March.
McMillan, who is poet-in-residence for English National Opera and a regular on Have I Got News For You? has strong maritime connections, with his father having served in the Royal Navy.

Being run in limerick form across social media platforms and via the website participants are being encouraged to pen a five line poem about the ocean and the men and women who dedicate their lives to working at sea, and all the challenges this entails.

Britain’s continuing reliance on the sea is often overlooked, but 95 percent of all imports and 75 percent of exports are still transported by sea, with the £56 billion UK maritime sector – more than aerospace and agriculture combined – directly employing over 410,000 people.

Between 2010 and 2011 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in 2,644 cases to retired sailors and their families, amounting to over £1.5 million nationally. The number of requests it receives for support are anticipated to increase further in 2012.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “We are delighted to be launching this new competition which in a fun way is designed to celebrate both life at sea and those who work day in day out with the ocean, whether, fishing its depths, protecting our shores or transporting the products we take for granted in our daily lives.

“Having someone with the talent and reputation of Ian McMillan to judge our winner is a great honour for the Society and is especially fitting given his own maritime connections. Every year we see cases of people that have dedicated so much of their lives to our seas and the society aims to support them in times of difficulty. Their exciting lives should provide inspiration enough but should our budding poets need further help to get the creative juices flowing we also sell a volume of poems on our website entitled ‘Sunset and Evening Star’.”

The following limerick may provide budding bards with inspiration for their entry.

I caught a big crab on my line,
They said: “Hold it up,” I said: “Fine”
But then I yelled “Ow!”
And look at me now:
If you count my fingers – there’s nine!

World Poetry Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1999 to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.

To enter the competition and for more information visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or the Society’s Facebook page.

The competition is to write an original poem on a maritime subject in limerick form consisting of no more than five lines and with the first, second and fifth usually rhyming. The deadline for entry is 5pm on Friday 9 March and the charity is offering an engraved barometer and video recording of the winning poem read by Ian McMillan as a prize.

 

Titanic Talk for charity

A Former Submariner and Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents Shares His Unique Perspective On the Tragedy 100 Years ago to Raise Money for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

A former Royal Navy submariner and Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, will share his unique perspective on the loss of the SS Titanic at a talk on 8 March to mark 100 years since the ship sank, to raise money for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

Rear Admiral John Lang, a former Chairman of the Society, spent 36 years serving in both the Merchant and Royal Navies before becoming head of the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch. He is also writing a book on the Titanic tragedy and is the first to do so from a unique accident investigator’s perspective.

Unlike the original accident report which stated that the loss was due to a collision with an iceberg brought about by excessive speed, Lang identifies a chain of events extending back over several years that caused the accident.

In an entertaining and fully illustrated talk, he identifies the single action that triggered the disaster, the three crucial causes and the many underlying reasons that contributed to the best known marine accident in history. Although none of the conclusions are, in themselves, very surprising they have never been presented in this way before.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities, founded in 1839 as a result of the tragic loss of a fleet of fishing boats from Clovelly. Today, the Society still gives help in the event of shipwreck but its main purpose is to provide financial support to retired or incapacitated seafarers and their families. It handles several hundred new applications for assistance each year and distributes over £1.5 million in dealing with around 2,500 cases of need.

All proceeds from the talk, which takes place at the Oxmarket Centre for Arts, off East Street in Chichester, will be donated to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

Speaking ahead of the event, John Lang describes how his interest in the topic began: “As the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents I was a bit surprised to discover how often the subject of the Titanic came up in the course of normal business and began to wonder what a a modern investigator would make of the original evidence were he to look at it. I was also intrigued to know if, having done so, he would agree with the conclusions drawn in 1912. When I retired I decided to look at the matter and eventually formed a view that differed in many respects to that reached 100 years earlier. This talk presents my findings and outlines how I came to a different conclusion.”

The book will be published at the end of July on the 100th anniversary of the date when the original accident report was produced in 1912.

Commodore Malcolm Williams, Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, said: “Historically, the role of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society was to help in the event of a shipwreck by providing clothing and accommodation for the survivors, paying the train fare to their home port and giving financial support to the dependants of those who were lost. Although our purpose has evolved and the focus of our work is now on the retired seafaring community the Society’s history means that the loss of the Titanic is still very close to our hearts. After the disaster we made payments to the dependants of crew members who were lost and had been members of the Society. I am looking forward to hearing John Lang’s unique perspective on the tragedy.

“We continue to receive many applications for support including the dependants of those lost at sea, (usually single-manned fishing vessels), so Admiral Lang’s fundraising efforts will allow us to help more seafarers in need.”

The doors open at 7pm on Thursday 8 March. Tickets costs £12 (including refreshments) and are available from Julia Allison at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society 01243 789329 jallison@shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

 

January 2012

Stamp and Go sing for seafarers in need

Cornish Sea Shanty Group Stamp and Go Raise Money for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society With the Launch of Their New CD.

Cornish sea shanty group Stamp and Go will be raising money for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which supports seafarers in need, with the launch of their latest CD on 1st February.

The event to be held at The Seiners Hotel in Perranporth will see the group perform songs from their new CD entitled ‘Sail Away’ which celebrates the lives of those who work in the maritime industry, before guest performers take to the stage to tell stories connected to the sea.

Stamp and Go, who perform regularly at festivals across the South West and have their own Sunday afternoon Shanty Festival on Perranporth Beach at the end of April each year, are becoming regular supporters of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, having starred in the charity’s underwater photography exhibition ‘Celebrations of the Sea’ at the end of last year.

The group also performed at Weymouth Sea Life centre at the opening of the exhibition which featured celebrities and ordinary people whose lives were dominated by the sea.

The Society, which gives financial support to retired seafarers and their families, awarded regular and one-off grants worth in excess of £1.5 million in 2,644 cases of need last year.

Commodore Malcolm Williams, Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, said: “The Society handled 729 new applications for assistance last year suggesting help for the retired seafaring community is still very much needed. It is therefore fantastic to receive on-going support from Stamp and Go to allow us to continue providing financial assistance to seafarers across the South West.”

Stuart Thorn, one of the six members of Stamp and Go, said the group were pleased to be able to support the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

“We became aware of the Society’s work through the ‘Celebrations of the Sea’ exhibition and since then we’ve been delighted to lend our support wherever possible. We are all connected to the sea through our love of sea shanties, maritime history and Cornwall so there is a real synergy with the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society which does fantastic work in the area supporting seafarers in need.”

Those attending the event on 1 February at 7pm at The Seiners are asked to make a £10 donation which will go to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society and in return will receive a sea food dinner and an evening of entertainment.

For more information about the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society or Stamp and Go visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or www.stamp-and-go.co.uk

 

Thousands in benefits go unclaimed

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Says Retired Mariners are Missing Out on Vital Support.

A maritime charity is concerned that many retired seafarers are failing to claim the statutory benefits to which they are entitled through lack of information and awareness.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which helped seafarers in need claim over £45,000 in statutory benefits last year, says a significant number of retired mariners and their dependants are missing out on vital support by not claiming the financial help they are eligible for. This is the tip of an iceberg.

Between 2010 and 2011 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in 2,644 cases amounting to over £1.5 million and helped at least 24 applicants to claim statutory benefits to which they were entitled but unaware of.

Commodore Malcolm Williams, Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, says many retired seafarers are either unaware that they are entitled to certain benefits or do not know how to go about claiming them.

He said: “Seafarers often retire on very meagre incomes so being able to access benefits can make a huge difference to their quality of life. The fact that so many former mariners are not claiming the support they are entitled to is a big worry, especially in the current economic climate where energy and food bills are rising and they may be suffering unnecessarily.”

“The main benefit that is not being claimed is Pension Credit. The government says that a single person in retirement requires a minimum income of £137.35 per week (£209.70 for a couple) yet the state pension, which is the only source of income for many of our beneficiaries, is £102.15 so they are losing out on an extra £35.00 per week – 25 percent of what they are entitles to!”

According to Age UK about 4 million older people are entitled to Pension Credit, yet about 1 in 3 of those eligible are not claiming it.

As well as providing grants, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society also supplies household items such as washing machines or disabled adaptations in times of need. The Society handled 729 new applications for assistance last year suggesting help for this vulnerable community is still very much in demand.

For more information about the work of the Society visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or call 01243 789329.

Donate Via Text

Send ‘SMSY11 £10’* to 70070 *Donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10

Cards & Gifts

Buying Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society greeting cards can be a great way of supporting us. We have a full range of charity cards and gifts!

Shop Now

Support Us

If it wasn’t for our supporters, we could not provide seafarers and their families with the essential help they need.

Donate Now