With October having disappeared all too quickly. time for me to update you on what has been happening at the Aberdeen Seafarers Centre (I will do a separate update on progress of DIY at home towards the end of the week!)
Lots going on as ever, but let me share this with some pictures…
Ship visiting is great fun! Doing this is important to bring a little happiness to the seafarers daily routine – often with long hours and lots of hard graft…
I was too early for lunch, but did have a ‘taster!’ Yummy! It can be hard to refuse food, after all, one doesn’t want to offend, yet we do have to engage with all crew and cooks are easy to chat with being in the galley most of the time.
I visited the MV Orelia and was saddened to hear that she was departing soon on her last job. The vessel will be being scrapped and this leaves a huge question mark over future employment. I’ have visited her countless times since I started as Chaplain in Aberdeen and made many good friends on her and in the picture is the cook and steward… fond memories lads – hope that you pick up a job soon.
Then ashore, it is great to welcome many seafarer to the Centre.
This seafarer was heading home in a few days. He came in with lots of presents for his family and was concerned about how he would get them home as he only had one suitcase and it was full of his personal possessions. I told him to wait and I went to our store and was able to give him the suitcase – which was promptly filled with the presents he had just bought!
The seafarer in the next picture asked me for some religious materials – we do not publicise these or push our faith to anyone, but if they ask… we are always ready to provide what they need.
We have had a relatively mild start to winter here in Aberdeen and yet many of the seafarers find the weather here very cold. We received some lovely jumpers which were quickly taken by the two Filipino seafarers in this picture. Note that they are sporting the ever popular woolly hats!
We see many vessels in the port and one weekend we had several warships visit for some R&R after an exercise in the North Sea. Sadly, they didn’t avail themselves of the free facilities at the Seafarers Centre… perhaps the next time?
It is that time of year again… I have already mentioned this, but I am pleased to say that the wrapping up of 3,000 individual gifts for seafarers visiting Aberdeen has been completed!
Much fun was had by all the volunteers (over 50 of them) and a huge thank you to all who partook of this most enjoyable activity!
Yes, the Diwali festivities were a bit of light relief for the crew and I could not ignore their repeated and insistent invitation to join them on the evening. Despite their ongoing plight, they were keen to celebrate an important date in the Indian Calendar.
It is always a joy to welcome them into the Seafarers Centre where they can play pool or use our free fast wi-fi to communicate with family back home.
It is amazing to see how God blesses our giving by giving back. We do not charge for our services and we delight to give freely of the many good things we have been given. I am not a fundraiser and prefer to be giving to the seafarers and do not ask for finances from anyone – be they an individual, business, Church or even a seafarer!
That said, I recently spoke at a local Church (Stockethill) where they took a collection for the work of the Centre and blessed us by their most generous giving.
Last Friday I was invited to Vroon Offshore Services Ltd. offices where the managing Director, Craig Harvie, presented me with a cheque in recognition of the ongoing work of the Seafarers Centre.
During these difficult times the Centre continues to receive financial support and we are grateful for this generous gift and a big ‘Thank You’ to all at Vroon Offshore Services Ltd.
Finally, we do need more volunteers – please do get in touch if you could spare one evening a month to man the Seafarers Centre. No seafaring experience is necessary as full training will be given. You just need to be friendly and willing to help – it really is easy!
Saturday night and I was on duty with Marion and we had 11 visitors to the Centre – all grateful for the second-hand clothes, woolly hats, games of pool, and especially the free wi-fi and a warm and welcoming place to relax off the ship!
I best close for now…