Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  22 May 2007 - The Brightest Maritime Daily
 





Walkers complete epic trek for seafarers
197 mile coast to coast trek raising money for seafarers' charity


Two intrepid walkers have completed the gruelling 197-mile Coast-to-Coast Walk from St Bee’s in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire, raising awareness of the conditions faced by merchant seafarers and also money for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea.

Veronica and Eddie Yarwood began their trek on Sunday 29th April, and completed the challenge just 16 days later after symbolically linking the Irish Sea with the North Sea. The couple also found the time to record their experiences in a ‘blog’ hosted on the website of the diocese of Hexham & Newcastle  ( http://coasttocoast.rcdhn.org.uk ), which received 6,000 unique visits during the walk. Thanks to this publicity, the money raised in sponsorship by the pair to help seafarers has now passed the £1,000 mark.

Both Veronica and Eddie are experienced walkers who have completed many well known routes around Britain, but attempting the Coast-to-Coast Walk was their most ambitious project to date. Veronica, a former probation officer, explained why she chose to support AOS. ‘I have always been interested in the sea, and this was heightened following a visit to Teesport some years ago,’ she said. ‘The tour really made an impression on me; we went on board a large roll-on roll-off ferry and met seafarers working on board. They were very pleased to see us and made us very welcome. It was great to talk to them about their families back home.

‘The Apostleship of the Sea does a great job in caring for seafarers, many of whom are Catholic, so we decided that it is this organisation which should benefit from any sponsorship monies raised.’

When the couple arrived at Robin Hood’s Bay at the end of their walk, they were given an enthusiastic welcome by local AOS supporters, including the AOS regional coordinator and chaplain to Teesport, Tony McAvoy.

Veronica observed, ‘What a reception we received – it was overwhelming. Thanks to Tony McAvoy and his wonderful team and their supporters, we were so elated in spite of the inclement weather which did little to dampen our spirits.’

Veronica continued, ‘We have so much to savour and enjoy, and while we are so delighted we have achieved our goal, we are sad that it is all coming to an end. We have had a wonderful experience, met some fascinating people, been in some great B&B’s and viewed some awe-inspiring scenery.’

Paying tribute to all those who supported them and worked to make the walk a success, Veronica said, ‘We are working as a team, each with our individual contribution to make to seafarers whom we may never meet but whose own role in providing our daily “bread”, in whatever form, deserves to be highlighted. Hopefully the walk is another way of continuing to raise the flag.’

The Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) is the official maritime welfare agency of the Catholic Church in Great Britain and an independent charity wholly reliant on voluntary contributions to sustain its vital ministry.

Ninety percent of all world trade is transported by ship, but the conditions faced by seafarers themselves are largely hidden. Typically recruited from poorer countries where wages are lower, seafarers work up to a year at a time away from loved ones and family back home. They suffer loneliness, dangerous working conditions and even exploitation as they bring us the goods we need to sustain our standard of living.

AOS deploys chaplains and ship visitors in ports up and down the country to welcome seafarers to our shores as brothers and sisters, regardless of their creed or nationality, and to provide for their pastoral and practical needs. Catholic seafarers are given the opportunity to receive the sacraments, and all seafarers encounter the love and light of Christ in their midst.

Working ecumenically with other Christian welfare societies, AOS provide drop-in centres within ports where seafarers who are able to leave their ships for a short while can relax, pray and contact loved ones back home. They can also talk confidentially about any problems they may be experiencing, away from the tension and noise of their working environment. In short, they are able to feel human again.

AOS also works collaboratively with other industry bodies and the government to speak up for the rights of seafarers and to ensure that their welfare is central to maritime policy.

The AOS website is at   http://www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk 

 

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