Excited staff and supporters of Sailors’ Society spoke with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about the charity’s work at the Queen’s birthday celebrations in London.
During the Royal parade, Prince William and Kate got out of their car and came over to speak to CEO Stuart Rivers and Director of Media and Advocacy Melanie Warman about the chaplaincy and welfare work the Hampshire-based international maritime charity carries out across the world.
“We told Kate about the ways we support seafarers who are often away from their homes and families for nine to 12 months at a time and she was particularly interested in the work we do helping seafarers’ children, rebuilding homes and classrooms in the Philippines and giving educational grants. She said work supporting children was very close to her heart,” said Melanie.
“She showed a genuine interest in the charity’s work. She was lovely and meeting Prince William and Kate was the icing on the cake of a truly memorable, once-in-a-lifetime day.”
The 40-strong Sailors’ Society party, which included staff, long-term volunteers and industry supporters, were taking part in the Patron’s Lunch, a huge street party along The Mall, with some 600 charities and organisations represented.
Sailors’ Society staff and guests aptly travelled by boat along the Thames to the event, leaving from St Katharine Docks close to where the charity began almost 200 years ago.
CEO Stuart Rivers added: “That seemed a very fitting way to get to the celebrations. It was a remarkable day and the highlight was meeting and talking to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They are such a gracious couple; her heart is for young people and it was wonderful to be able to share with her the work we do with seafarers’ children around the world.
“The Queen has been very good to Sailors’ Society over the years and we are incredibly grateful for her support. Royal patronage really endorses our work and signifies we are a trusted organisation. It is a privilege to have the Queen as our patron and the Patron’s Lunch was the perfect way to thank her for such longstanding dedication to charity.”