NOT EVEN volcanic ash could dampen the spirits of those who attended the launch of Apostleship of the Sea’s (AOS) “SeaWheeling Adventure” on a recent Thursday evening on board HQS Wellington.
The chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano meant that David Savage, the star of the show and a trustee of AoS, was stranded in Singapore and other guests were stuck in Brazil, Sudan and the United States.
Eamonn Delaney, Chairman of AoS, gallantly stepped into the breach and announced to the assembled party the ambitious plan to raise £100,000 to provide welfare services for seafarers.
On September 3 David Savage will set off from Hull Seafarers’ Centre to cycle around the coast of Britain taking in all the ports where AoS chaplains are based. He will cover 60 towns in 60 days and he invites riders to register to join him on all or part of the journey, riding for a few miles or a few hundred, and raising sponsorship as they go.
Since he retired last year after a career spent in the Merchant Navy and later in the shipping industry, Mr Savage has been planning this epic ride around the entire coast of Britain.
Starting at Hull, his hometown, he will ride south taking in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Tilbury, some of the busiest ports in Britain.
2010 has been designated the Year of the Seafarer by the International Maritime Organisation.
The AoS intends to draw attention to the inherent problems for many thousands of merchant seafarers of dangerous working conditions, low pay, poor morale, sickness and the inevitable suffering of their separation from their families many thousands of miles away, for up to a year at a stretch.
So who needs seafarers? What do they do for you? Why should you be interested in them or their welfare? The answer is, of course, that almost every item which appears on a supermarket shelf, or is offered for sale elsewhere, has arrived in this country by ship. Ninety five per cent of what we use, consumables, manufactured goods, raw materials and so on, come in by sea.
Without ships and, of course, the seafarers to man them, shelves would very soon be empty and industry would grind to a halt. A spokesman for the AoS said: “Help us to help them, and support Mr Savage’s Sea Wheeling Adventure.” Please visit www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk.