More than 500 guests joined the world’s oldest maritime welfare charity as it marked its 200th anniversary at Southwark Cathedral earlier this week (24 April).
Sailors’ Society was founded in London in 1818 to help seafarers returning home from the Napoleonic Wars. Now based in Southampton, the charity supports the world’s 1.6m seafarers and their families through crises such as piracy, kidnapping and abandonment.
His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent attended the event and said: “The charity has been at the forefront of innovative maritime welfare for two centuries and changed many hundreds of thousands of lives for the better.”
A new anthem, “They that go down to the sea in ships” was composed by Malcolm Archer for the anniversary and performed by the Winchester College Chapel Choir.
After the service, Prince Michael signed a copy of the charity’s new book, 200 Stories from the Sea.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP said: “For 200 years, Sailors’ Society has supported seafarers, their families and maritime communities, right across the globe and often at the hardest times for them.
“From building storm shelters and schools to helping families stay connected while loved ones are at sea and offering support, the organisation is a crucial part of the maritime industry and I’m sure it will continue to be so for centuries to come.”
The charity’s CEO Stuart Rivers added: “The service was a truly remarkable occasion with staff, trustees, industry supporters, volunteers, our chaplains from around the world and donors all gathered to celebrate an amazing achievement.”