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HRH The Princess Royal leads six women reading lessons at MtS Christmas service

by BLUE Communications 21 Nov 17:55 GMT
HRH The Princess Royal performing a reading at the Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols, 2014 © Mission to Seafarers

International seafarer welfare charity, The Mission to Seafarers, has announced that its President, HRH The Princess Royal, will be attending and reading a lesson at the annual 'Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols'.

A highlight of the Christmas season for the shipping industry, this year's carol service will take place on 3 December from 14:15 to 17:30 at the Church of St Michael Paternoster Royal, Mission IHQ in London. The service is supported by Gold Sponsor Shell and Bronze sponsors V.Group, Fred Olsen and Everblacks Towage.

This year, the Christmas service will recognise diversity in shipping, with six of the nine readers women - including one female cadet. The service attracts leading figures in the maritime sector, as well as friends and family of the Mission, united to celebrate the hard work, dedication and resilience of seafarers and their families around the world at what can be a particularly difficult time of year.

Following the service, guests are invited to a festive drinks reception for a glass of Christmas cheer and canapes at the Worshipful Company of Skinners' Headquarters at Skinners' Hall.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers, said: "Christmas is traditionally a time of celebration with family, friends and festive food. However, for the 1.5 million seafarers across the globe, who make Christmas possible for everyone, most will be spending Christmas far away from friends, family and loved ones. Those fortunate to be in a Mission port will be provided for by our dedicated teams.

"Guests who attend our annual Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols support us in making life better for the seafarers who work hard throughout the year, including Christmas. Our event is about celebrating these remarkable individuals and standing together in solidarity to show they have support, however far they are from home. The Mission to Seafarers provides direct unconditional support for these men and women, 365 days a year, including on Christmas Day. Our teams provide food and water when they've been abandoned, legal support, mental health counselling, and a listening ear.

"We are extremely honoured to welcome back our President, HRH The Princess Royal, among our other distinguished guests, to deliver one of our nine lessons, and to join our celebrations. With the ongoing support of our generous donors and attendees, we hope to continue supporting seafarers for years to come."

The lessons will be read by:

  • HRH, The Princess Royal
  • Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President Shipping & Maritime, Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited
  • Penny Phillips, Port Chairman, MtS Falmouth
  • Karin Orsel, Chief Executive Officer, MF Shipping Group
  • Claire Sneddon, Trustee, The Mission to Seafarers
  • Dr Jason Zuidema, General Secretary International Christian Maritime Association, Executive Director, North American Maritime Ministry Association
  • Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive Officer, Seafarers UK
  • The Rt Revd David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke
  • Alice Kerby, Deck Officer Cadet, MSC Cruises

The service will feature festive carols, readings and music, with a performance from the children's choir from Hadrian's School in South Shields. Over the summer months, the choir took part in the Sea Sunday service at the seafarers centre in South Shields. South Shields is one of the most historic UK shipping centres, with deep roots in seafaring.

The Church of St Michael Paternoster Royal has limited capacity so early booking is advised to avoid disappointment. For more information please refer to the Mission to Seafarers website.

Alternatively, please contact Krishna Machado-Denne on +44 (0)20 7246 2948 or via .

Those unable to attend but still wishing to support the work of the Mission to Seafarers can donate at

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