A special event to highlight the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers will take place at Wyre Forest District Council’s headquarters on Monday 3 September.
Members of the public are invited to join service organisations to commemorate Merchant Navy Day at the annual flag-flying ceremony at Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, off Stourport Road, Kidderminster.
Council Chairman Councillor Stephen Williams will raise the flag at 9.30am. Councillor Williams said: “I hope as many people as possible come along and help mark the sacrifice and contribution of Merchant Navy seafarers down the years and join with us in saluting their continuing service to this country.”
The council is supporting a nationwide call from the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs.
The charity’s president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, has endorsed the campaign, saying: “On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.”
As an ‘island nation’ the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95% of our imports, including half the food we eat. The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe. 75% of our exports (by volume) are shipped from UK ports, some of which are supporting the campaign by encouraging visiting ships to sound their horns at 10am on 3 September.
More than 400 local authorities throughout the UK have been invited by Seafarers UK and the Merchant Navy Association to participate in ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day’.
Merchant Navy Day has been commemorated since 2000 on 3 September, the anniversary of the sinking of the SS Athenia, the first British merchant vessel lost during World War 2.
Seafarers UK is a leading grant-making charity that helps people in the maritime community, by providing vital funding to support seafarers in need and their families. Donations to the charity’s Merchant Navy Fund can be made at www.merchantnavyfund.org