Plea to save Great Yarmouth’s Port Chaplain

A RENEWED appeal has been made for funding to save the vital role of the Great Yarmouth Port Chaplain after a poor response to previous pleas for cash.

The Good Work (Norfolk and Waveney Industrial Mission) needs to raise �12,000 to save the post, currently held by the Rev Peter Paine. However, only three companies based at Yarmouth port out of a possible 200 responded to letters asking for donations, raising a paltry �125 of the cash fund needed.

The response leaves Mr Paine’s future in jeopardy as he has enough money to see him through until December, but not beyond.

He said: “I am disappointed, but at the same time I understand where a lot of these companies are coming from. They have their own priorities to look at and, if anything goes wrong, then the first person they come to is me.”

He believed the current economic climate was a big reason why companies were unable to contribute as they simply did not have the cash to spare.

“I think that is a big reason. A lot of firms are struggling at the moment and trying to keep their heads above water,” he added.

Last year, the Baptist minister told the Mercury about his work, including support for the colleagues of 11 Shell gas rig workers who died when their helicopter crashed off the Norfolk coast in 2002. A report found evidence of fatigue in the rotor blades.

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He said port chaplains, present in most ports around the country, are responsible for overseeing the welfare of all sailors visiting their ports. They inspect every ship visiting their port to ensure the sailors have good living conditions, clean water and good food available.

Many of the ships’ crews come from different countries and speak in different languages and so loneliness is often a problem on the high seas. One of the services Mr Paine offers is to arrange for lonely crew members to phone or email home.

Also, when required, he is able to provide religious support for people of different denominations and he also ferries them to their respective churches. He can also provide internet services, including Skype, so crew members can chat to family and friends and he helps sailors if they have been injured or need medical treatment.

He said because Yarmouth was a seafaring town it was vital to keep the port chaplain role going.

He added: “We need to show people far away from home, the love and concern that the people of Yarmouth have for those at home and at sea.”

Good Work chairman Barry Capon said seafarers welfare organisation The Mission to Seafarers provided half the costs of the position, but Good Work had to fund the rest.

In the past, he has received donations from various organisations including the Bishop of Norwich, the John Jarrold Trust and the Lady Hines Trust.

He said: “Any small contributions from a lot of people are better than no contributions from anybody.”

Anyone wishing to give to the cause can contact Mr Paine at his office, Cobholm and Lichfield Health and Resource Centre, Pasteur Road, Great Yarmouth, NR31 0DW or e-mail: