Day of the Seafarer
Submitted by Mercyships on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 15:51.
Mercy Ships, which is staffed by more than 450 volunteers at any one time, celebrated the Day of the Seafarer on the 25th June.
The Day of the Seafarer provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers for the unique and all-too-often overlooked contribution to the well-being of the general public. The Day of the Seafarer has been included in the annual list of United Nations Observances.
Judy Polkinhorn, Executive Director of Mercy Ships UK, said: “The ship, the Africa Mercy, acts as both hospital and home to many of our volunteers. Without it we wouldn’t be able to provide the level of care and reach those people who need help the most. We’d like to mark the Day of the Seafarer by thanking all our seafarers and all other seafarers around the world for the social and economic contributions they make, often at personal cost to themselves and their families.
“Mercy Ships simply would not be able to carry on with the work that we do if not for the dedicated engineers, medical and other volunteers on the ship that give up their time every year to help out. We would like to thank each one for all their hard work.”
Arthur Francis (62), a maintenance electrician from Sheffield, who works at The Sheffield Teaching hospital Foundation Trust, is currently preparing to embark on his travels to join the Africa Mercy. He will travel to the ship on 29 June and stay for a month.
Arthur has volunteered for the charity regularly since 1998. He served as an electrician on the ship from 2004 to 2007 and made Chief Electrician until 2009.
Arthur said: “I volunteered for Mercy Ships as I simply felt it was right to do so. I wanted to give something back to those worst off in the world. One of my most memorable moments was joining the Africa Mercy on its maiden voyage from Tyneside to Liberia back in 2007. Seeing the crowds who had gathered to wave us off was incredibly moving.
“Volunteering for such a unique charity is extremely rewarding. I’ve had the opportunity to sail the seas to serve vulnerable and the poor who are in desperate need of help. You see sights and experience things which move you to compassion.”
“I welcome the sentiment of Day of the Seafarer and the link to Mercy Ships. It’s lovely to feel part of a unique community and to celebrate it.”