Birmingham’s Lord Mayor says ‘thank you seafarers’

By on 02/09/2015 in Lord Mayor, News

Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Raymond Hassall, will fly the Red Ensign at 10am on Thursday, September 3, outside the Council House, to celebrate Merchant Navy Day and raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

He will be joined by Birmingham City Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Ian Ward, the area secretary for the Merchant Navy, Eric Brown, Rev Mary Gilbert from St Paul’s Church and members of the Merchant Navy Association.

The Lord Mayor said: “I am proud to support the nationwide call from the Seafarer UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag to be flown on this day.

“Here in Birmingham we are a long way away from the sea and it is easy to forget the importance of shipping and our ports. Merchant Navy Day serves to remind us of the crucial role that the Merchant Navy plays.”

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 per cent of its imports, including half the food we eat. The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe, with 75 per cent of our exports (by volume) being shipped from UK ports, some of which are supporting the campaign by encouraging visiting ships to sound their horns at 10am on September 3.

Further information is available by visiting


 National campaign PR contact:

Nick Harvey, Campaigns Manager, Seafarers UK, phone 020 7932 5969, mobile 07910 593588, email

Notes for Editors:

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’.

The ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day’ Pageantmaster is Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, phone 07737 262913, email

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


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