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On Thursday 11th November I attended the local Mission to Seafarers Remembrance Day Service, which took place at the Merchant Navy Memorial, Mill Dam, South Shields.

It was very well attended and welcomed two special groups of representatives. Captain of the ARCADIA cruise ship, Ashley Cook, crossed the Tyne from where the vessel is berthed on the north bank of the river, to present The Mission to Seafarers’ Ian Smith, with a memorial service plaque. Captain Cook was accompanied to the service by James O’Neill, Arcadia’s Chief Engineer and Grant Williams, the ship’s Security Officer. ARCADIA is parked in the Port of Tyne for a few months, until the Covid-19 situation improves and cruises regain their popularity.

The other notable ambassadors were the 3 groups of children representing their local schools, some of them also being Mini Police, which is a local police force community initiative.

Some of the children can be seen in the attached photo with the visitors from ARCADIA, in front of the Merchant Navy Memorial at the Mill Dam.

There is more information with photos, of the service: here.

It is important for the young people of all nations to recognise the ultimate sacrifice made by current and previous generations of men and women who lost their lives fighting for the good of their country.

It was particularly encouraging to see that there was also massive support from children and young adults at the UK’s main REMEMBRANCE DAY service held at the Cenotaph in London, on 14th November.

The South Shields Mission to Seafarers is currently closed to the general public, to maintain sterile conditions so that staff and volunteers can still bring seafarers from vessels visiting the port, to the mission for a few hours break away from their ship, which they may have been on for months. They can relax and enjoy a change of food, refreshments, access books, computers, free phone cards to call home and so on. All this from dedicated people involved with a brilliant organisation, which I always appreciated when I was in ports, thousands of miles from home, in the middle of nowhere.

Because of the Mission’s closure rules, I arranged to meet up with Dianne Erskine, Mission Manager, before the service. I handed over a cheque for £250 to cover Solar Solve’s donations of £4 for every completed Customer Questionnaire that was returned to the company in the last 12 months.


John Lightfoot, Solar Solve Chairman