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Seafarers' chief is impressed by Fowey

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 16, 2014

  • DISTINGUISHED VISITOR: Andrew Wright, secretary of the Mission to Seafarers, centre, with Fowey chairman, Ben Jones; Lloyd Pinkston; Elaine Elliott; harbour master Paul Thomas; Chris Rankin, MBE, chair of Merchant Navy Welfare Board; and Fower vicar, Philip de Grey-Warter, at the mission.

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THE secretary-general of a worldwide organisation caring for seafarers has visited Fowey.

The Reverend Andrew Wright met staff, volunteers, members of the community, and seafarers at the Mission to Seafarers, Fowey on Wednesday.

Elaine Elliott, branch secretary, said: "He was impressed by the support given by the number of helpers and was pleased that our fundraisers were there to meet him.

"He felt that the mission was an integral part of the community, was supported by the community and successful in its work to help visiting seamen in Fowey."

The secretary-general was also given a tour by the port manager, Lloyd Pinckston.

The organisation, which provides care and support for visiting and stranded mariners, was founded in 1856 and had its beginnings some 20 years earlier when Anglican clergyman John Ashley began visiting seafarers whose vessels were anchored in the Bristol Channel.

He was so struck by their isolation and need that he turned down a parish position, and instead became a self-appointed chaplain to those at sea.

Although a Christian organisation, the missions support anyone at sea regardless of their rank, gender, nationality or faith.

Mrs Elliott said: "They (the missions) provide a home-from-home for seamen visiting the port. Refreshments, reading and games room, and on some occasions cheap accommodation, and in every mission there is always a chapel."

Since beginning on the site of the Fowey River Gallery, the mission, now behind the docks, continues to be busy and provides traditional services alongside more modern technology, such as wi-fi internet.

Mrs Elliot said: "We know at the mission the most important part of a seaman's life when they are on a ship is to be in reguar contact with home and know their family are safe and well and getting their money that is sent to them by the (ship's) owners.

"I think everyone was delighted by his visit. Fowey is a unique place."

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