Port chaplain’s Christmas message of thanks after Malaviya Twenty appeal response
PUBLISHED: 11:15 24 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:15 24 December 2016
A dozen bags filled with chocolates, toiletries, cards and gifts, and one united message: we support you.
This is what will be taken aboard the stranded Malaviya Twenty on Christmas Day, after a community rallied around to bring some festive cheer when it was most needed.
The 12-strong crew of the Indian-owned off shore supply vessel have been stranded without pay in Great Yarmouth since the summer, and their work visas have expired.
The Rev Peter Paine, Great Yarmouth’s port chaplain launched appeal two weeks ago for donations for the crew to brighten up their Christmas, which they will be spending thousands of miles from their homes and families.
Now, as he prepares to take the gifts aboard, he has spoken of just how big a response he received.
He said: “The response has blown my mind. Hopefully the presents we are taking them will lift all of their spirits and show them just how much the people of Great Yarmouth are behind them.
“It hasn’t been just the town either, people have been coming from across the surrounding area to offer their support as well. It really has been an over-whelming response.”
Among the donations are boxes of chocolate biscuits, hygiene products such as shower gel, and warm clothes such as hats and scarves.
Anglian Water also donated a multi-pack of bottled water for each member, and organisations such as Lowestoft College have also been backing the appeal.
Mr Paine added: “I’ve spoken to the captain of the ship about people’s donations, but I don’t think they are expecting quite this much.
“I cannot thank everybody who has helped with this appeal enough.”
The ship’s crew are also not the only people to have benefitted from the appeal - Mr Paine explain how so much food had been donated that the captain could not accept it all, meaning the remaining tins and cans will be shared between the town’s food banks.
Earlier this month, the ship was placed under arrest by the admiralty courts, meaning it will now either be sold or an agreement must be reached to pay the wages of its crew, freeing them to return home to India.