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.

UK Board of Trustees

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


  • Sir John Major
  • Dame Norma Major DBE