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MARITIME WELFARE 38 | telegraph | | March 2012

touches so many lives… I

Apostleship kindness

I have always felt a strong attachment to the Apostleship of the Sea.

Well before I was born, my local

parish of St Patrick’s, in the Anderston district of Glasgow, recognised that seafarers needed companionship and support when their ship came into the city. Glasgow at that time was a bustling port. Many of these men were thou- sands of miles away from home and were often lonely. Fathers Bradley and Lynch led the call to raise funds and were able to open a hall where the sailors could mix with the local people in a friendly atmosphere.

Lord Martin with AoS chair of trustees Eamonn Delaney

In 1921, a Mass was held with some 70 Goanese seamen pre- sent. These visitors returned to Father Lynch with a huge cake, which they had baked onboard ship and asked that it be divided among the children whose sing- ing they enjoyed so much. My late father fi rst went to sea in 1936 as a stoker. He did not readily choose that profession but he was desperate for work because of the great depression. It was in that year my oldest brother Owen was born. Working conditions for sea-

Rt Hon the Lord Martin of Springburn — the former Speaker of the House of Commons — pays tribute to the Apostleship of the Sea

poisoned hand and arm. The Apostleship saw to it that he had visitors and the staff and other patients were very kind to him. The very letters he sent to my mother had to be written by one of the nurses. It was many months before my

father was able to return to the UK. A few years later in 1939 he, like all the others in the Merchant Navy, was fully involved in the Second World War and had to face the dangers of being hunted by U-boats.

As Speaker, I visited The Til- bury Seafarers’ Centre and was most impressed by the facilities that were available to visiting sail- ors.

AoS ship visitors regularly give Christmas presents to seafarers far from home

men were far from satisfactory and he was required to carry his own bedding onto the ship with him. My father was a very hard-

working man. However, being unused to the coal shovelling, his hands soon blistered and unfor- tunately the coal dust entered his wounded hands. By the time he

landed in Canada, his arm was poisoned and his skipper dis- charged him as being unfi t for work.

He was left on the docks of

Montreal as a distressed British seaman and it was the Apostle- ship of the Sea who took up the responsibility to look after him. Dad was hospitalised with a

The communications such as emails, payphones and internet meant that these sailors could contact their families and loved ones immediately, and the thought occurred to me that it took many weeks for contact to be made in my father’s day.

I wish the Apostleship of the

Sea well in their good work. I am always mindful of my mother’s deep gratitude for the kindness, which my father received at a time when he was sick and in such great distress.

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Each year the Apostleship of the Sea

Visits over 10,000 ships Helps over 200,000 seafarers Deals with over 2,100 welfare issues

“Thanks a million for your very warm heart ”


To donate or read more about the Apostleship of the Sea visit our website

and for the help you have given us. I am not going to forget the good deeds you have shown us and we will never forget you. A message from a seafarer to an Apostleship of the Sea Chaplain

I wish to support AoS with a donation of: £ _______

Please return it to: AoS, Freepost LON21409, London, EC1B 1NB (Please make cheques payable to AoS)

Title:_________ First Name:________________ Surname:__________________

Address:_____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________Postcode: ________________ Telephone: ________________________________________

Email: ____________________________________________ (Please only give us your email if you are happy to be contacted in this way)

While Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin MP opened the ecumenical seafarers’ centre in Tilbury in 2007

Registered Charity No: 1069833 Company Registration: 3320318

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