Don and Deyon Stephens founded Mercy Ships in 1978, purchasing a retired ocean liner called Victoria for £600,000. Over the next four years the passenger vessel was gradually transformed into a hospital ship with three operating theatres and a 40-bed ward. And in 1982, the vessel sailed as the newly christened Anastasis – the first Mercy Ship – carrying a volunteer crew of 350 from all over the world.

Since then, ships in the Mercy Ships fleet have visited more than 451 ports in developing nations around the world, bringing lasting change to millions of lives. 

We are an international, faith-based organisation with a mission to increase access to health care throughout the world, serving the poor regardless of race, gender or religion.

Mercy Ships is funded by an increasing number of committed supporters, including Individuals, Rotary Clubs, Trusts, Schools, Churches, and Companies.

Every pound that Mercy Ships receives is complemented by over two pounds in contributed gifts-in-kind and services. Most significantly, those serving on the ships contribute monthly crew fees and raise their own finances to serve with Mercy Ships. For these reasons, the return on investment for Mercy Ships is nothing less than extraordinary.

Click here to download our latest Annual Review.

UK Board of Trustees

  • Henry Clarke
  • Dr Keith Thomson
  • Andrew Billington
  • Ann Gloag
  • Anthony Dunnett
  • Alan Edwards
  • Ruth Guy
  • Terry Harrison
  • Paul Ramsbottom
  • Ron Goode
  • Peter Schulze


  • Sir John Major
  • Dame Norma Major DBE