South Shields to pay tribute to work of seafarers

Last years Merchant Navy Day was attended by past and present merchant navy seafarers
Last years Merchant Navy Day was attended by past and present merchant navy seafarers

Merchant Navy seamen and women of today and yesteryear will be honoured in a special service dedicated to their work this weekend.

National Merchant Navy Day takes place on Sunday with celebrations across the country.

In South Tyneside, a service will be held at the Mission to Seafarers at the Mill Dam, South Shields, at 3pm.

The annual event, attended by past and present seaman, pays tribute to those who spend their working lives at sea.

Secretary of the Mission, Coun Fay Cunningham, said: “The event is always well attended. It’s important to remember those who work at sea for months and sometimes years on end. They ensure we still have the necessities and luxuries we are able to purchase.

“A lot of our food is delivered by sea and the day is about recognising the contribution of those of all nationalities make as well as those who served during the world wars.”

She added: “Being a seafarer is not an easy life and for some, it can take them away from their families for up to two years at a time.”

On the day, the Merchant Navy flag will be flown from South Shields Town Hall while the RMT Union will also be flying the Red Ensign from regional offices across the UK.

Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary said: “The RMT is seeking to raise public awareness over the role merchant navy ratings play in our national fortunes, as well as remembering what their predecessors did to defend and maintain the national interest.”

The event will be attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside Coun Olive Punchion and Mary French.