Our Chaplain to the Humber Ports, Revd. Tim Linkens, details the exceptional contributions and collaborations that went into distributing presents to seafarers they encountered over the Christmas season.
Christmas 2023 saw a great local team effort on the Humber to provide nearly 850 gifts for seafarers. At the Mission, Humber, we were able to combine the support of corporate partners and the efforts of individuals, churches, and schools to remind seafarers that they are remembered and appreciated at this time of year.
Each gift contained a range of items, such as toiletries, sweets, chocolate, and a Christmas devotional. Alongside these were a handmade item from our huge base of enthusiastic knitters and a Christmas card made by local school children. All those involved in packing also wrote a personal greeting card for the seafarer who would receive the gift.
We had three packing days. The first was at Coffee on the Docks cafe in Grimsby, where owners Mark and Alana provided great refreshments. The next was at the Stella Maris Hull Seafarer Centre, where local caterer Eddo made sure none of us went hungry. Then we went to Central Methodist Church in Goole, where our long-term supporters did a great job of sorting and packing the final mountain of donations.
Once we had packed, we headed straight out to deliver gifts to the ships. Seafarers always welcome a visit, but never more so when you arrive with armfuls of Christmas gifts. The gifts are typically unexpected and are received with much joy.
Many thanks are due, so here they are. Mark Gibbens, Head of Logistics and Emma Smith, Due Diligence, Assurance, and Integrations Manager at Drax Power, pulled together donations from their partners, including DAN Shipping, Ultrabulk, ABP, GB Railfreight, SMS Towage, Port of Tyne, DB Cargo, and AHK. Volunteers from Drax Power, DAN Shipping, and SMS Towage worked alongside MtS Humber volunteers to sort, pack and deliver. Our wholesale partners, DeeBees in Hull and Grimsby, made sure the items arrived at the right places and at the right times. Diane at MtS Tyne and Wear got the extra-knitted hats to us just when we needed them. Thanks also to the children and staff of St. Peter’s School in Barton and St. Mary’s in Beverley for the cards, and to the people of St Mary’s Church in Barton who donate throughout the year.
Finally, credit must go to our volunteer team here on the Humber, especially Allison, our treasurer, who made sure it all added up and went smoothly.
It was a great team effort, with many people contributing in ways that matter. We say thanks to all and remind everyone who played their part that they helped bring joy and blessing to many seafarers last Christmas, and the reassurance that while they might often be out of sight, they are not out of mind.