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Skill and Gallantry Awards 2017 now open for nominations

National Maritime Charity Calls for Skill and Gallantry Awards Nominations

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is calling on members of the maritime community, and rescue organisations, to nominate colleagues and associates who have demonstrated outstanding skill and gallantry in rescuing those in peril at sea.

Skill and Gallantry Awards

The Society, which has provided financial support to merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependants since 1839, will hold its 166th Skill and Gallantry Awards Ceremony in October.  The Awards seek to recognise those who have shown exceptional courage in the face of adversity.

Last year saw the Society’s president, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, present awards to  ‘Rescue 193’ of 771 Naval Air Squadron RNAS CULDROSE;  the Crew of HMS CLYDE; Petty Officer Luke Hallis, Chief Bosun’s Mate of HMS Clyde and Mr John Hunter of Lagan SAR Rescue Swimmer Corps.

Malcolm Williams, Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society said: “The Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards are the highlight of our events calendar.  Every year we see men and women who have shown outstanding skill and bravery recognised and I am sure this year will be no different. The Awards raise awareness of the professionalism and selflessness seafarers and rescue crews demonstrate in keeping others, whether they be seafarers or members of the public, safe from the dangers of the sea. Ultimately, I hope these Awards go some way towards acknowledging their tremendous efforts.”

Within the past year the Society has provided financial support in over 2,000 cases of need, received over 500 new applications for assistance and distributed grants worth over £1.4 million.

Nominations for this year’s Awards are now open.  You can submit them by contacting:

Malcolm Williams, Chief Executive

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, 1 North Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1TL

Tel: 01243 789329

The closing date for nominations is 12 noon, Friday 5 May 2017.

Award winners 2016

Since 1851, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has presented annual Skill and Gallantry Awards to recognise the UK’s unsung sea rescue heroes, as well as those who have given outstanding service to the charity.

The Edward and Maisie Lewis Award – for an outstanding air/sea rescue

Skill and Gallantry Awards

A Naval air squadron rescue crew has been recognised for their outstanding skill and gallantry in the dramatic double rescue of two injured fishermen. The crew of ‘Rescue 193’ from 771 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Culdrose, has been awarded the Edward and Maisie Lewis Award after battling treacherous conditions during a double rescue from two different ships in November 2015. They first went to assistance of the Irish Fishing Vessel Patrick after she reported an injured crewman requiring urgent evacuation after his arm was crushed in the vessel’s hydraulic winch. The crew, Lt Cdr Steven Hopkins (pilot and aircraft commander), Lt Philip Ross, (second pilot), Lt Jason Sawyer (observer) and CPO Aircrewman Mark Shaw (winchman), quickly made contact with the skipper and after many difficult attempts, the winchman was able to land on the vessel and retrieve the injured fisherman.

Read the full citation here.

The Lady Swaythling Trophy – for an outstanding feat of seamanship

Skill and Gallantry Awards

The Lady Swaythling Trophy was instituted in 1973 by the late Lady Swaythling, a former Vice-President of the Society, and is awarded annually to an individual for the most outstanding feat of seamanship. The crew of HMS CLYDE, the Royal Navy’s Falkland Islands patrol vessel, has been collecting the award after a dramatic rescue of 200 passengers following a major engine room fire aboard a 10,000 tonne Antarctic cruise ship.  The crew of a Royal Navy patrol vessel has been awarded the Lady Swaythling Trophy after it battled harsh conditions during the rescue on Dolphin Cape, East Falkland in November 2015.

Individual Commendation – Luke Hallis for his outstanding role in the rescue

Skill and Gallantry Awards

Read the full citation here.

Individual Commendation – for an outstanding bravery in the dramatic rescue of 142 refugees

Skill and Gallantry Awards

John Hunter, a leading member of the Lagan Search and Rescue (LSAR) Swimmer Corps, was given an Individual Commendation at the Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards for his role in saving the life of a baby and recovering refugees from stricken vessels that were at risk of capsizing in the winter of 2015. Overall, the search and rescue mission saw LSAR volunteers actively involved in the rescue of 246 refugees in peril at sea or in danger of being shipwrecked.

Read the full citation here.

Awards to Honorary Agents/Volunteers

The Lord Lewin Award – for outstanding service to the Society

This award is given to Honorary Agents of the Society who have given outstanding and long service.

  • Brancaster: Cyril Southerland collected an award among Naval crews and a rescue swimmer, for his support of seafarers and their communities as an Honorary Agent of the Society.

Skill and Gallantry Awards

Read the full citation here.

  • Lowestoft: Senior Superintendant Tim Jenkins of the Fishermen’s Mission collected an award among Naval crews and a rescue swimmer for his support of seafarers and their communities as an Honorary Agent of the Society.

Skill and Gallantry Awards

Read the full citation here.


Since 1839, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has provided financial and practical help, assistance and advice to fishermen and mariners and their dependants who have suffered hardship, misfortune or poverty, as a result of being at sea or in retirement.

To celebrate Britain’s proud and enduring connection with the sea, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society runs a national annual photography competition. Launched to mark national Seafarers Awareness Week in June, the Charity encourages amateur and professional photographers to find the UK’s ultimate sea view.

To find out more information about the Charity, visit our website, our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

To donate by text please send a text message to 70070 containing the code SMSY11 followed by your donation of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10. To donate online please visit our Charities Aid Foundation page.

You can also Gift Aid your contribution, meaning the Society can claim an additional 25 pence from HM Revenue & Customs for every £1 you donate.

You can post a contribution at any time to 1 North Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TL – cheques should be made payable to ‘Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’.

Donate Via Text

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

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