‘Inspiring’ recipients for MNWB’s annual award unveiled on World Maritime Day

Four recipients have been chosen to receive the Merchant Navy Welfare Board’s (MNWB) prestigious annual award.

Paula Daly (pictured above with a seafarer), Robert Campbell, Sandy Nairne and Sister Mary Scholastica are the recipients of this year’s Annual Award for Service to Seafarers’ Welfare – and have been unveiled on World Maritime Day (September 28).

The annual award, now in its 35th year, is given to individuals who have provided an exceptional level of welfare service to seafarers and fishers, either in a voluntary or professional capacity.

Paula has been the Mission Area Officer in Southwest Scotland for Fishermen’s Mission, the national charity that works to support fishers and their families, for over 13 years.

Within her role, Paula has oversight for 246 clients, with direct responsibility for supporting 100 of these, and visits 48 different ports and harbours where she provides support to each client and empowers them to move forward. Most recently, Paula was at the heart of connecting with survivors of human trafficking in Scotland.

Paula has given continual support to the fishing communities of Southwest Scotland – delivered in a quiet, unassuming manner, always with the goal of the best possible outcome for those she is supporting.

Her colleague Robert, who is a retired fisher, has been a volunteer at Fishermen’s Mission for over 20 years in Northern Ireland. He is also the caretaker in the Mission’s Kilkeel Centre, where the migrant workers call him ‘Papa’.

Robert formed a social hub for retired seafarers in Kilkeel, who meet weekly and have refreshments to talk over issues. A keen fundraiser, Robert takes on all duties that need doing from cleaning the toilets to caring for fishers who have lost loved ones. He has been described as ‘more than one in a million and an enigma in his life and work’.

Sandy was the former Deputy Chair of Seafarers’ Hospital Society before stepping down earlier this year.

During Sandy’s nearly four decades of service, he has played an active, hands-on role as a trustee, overseeing periods of transformation and change as the Society has continued to modernise in the 21st century.

Sandy’s many achievements include the integral role he played in the formation of the Seafarers Advice & Information Line (SAIL) service and championing the SeaFit programme.

Sandy has been described as being ‘truly special’ in his devotion to supporting seafarers.

Sister Mary is the nun in-charge of Stella Maris’ Seafarers’ Centre in the Port of Sunderland.

Sister Mary started the seafarer centre in the Port of Sunderland single-handedly by renovating an old building and making it into a warm and hospitable place where all seafarers are made to feel welcome.

As well as starting and running the seafarers’ centre, Sister Mary also goes above-and-beyond by providing vessels at the port with internet modems to enable seafarers to contact their loved ones at home, as well as providing goody bags of shampoo and toothpaste during ship visits.

Stuart Rivers, CEO of MNWB, the umbrella charity for the UK Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets which represents 43 constituent charity members, said:

“Our award recipients are truly inspiring.

“They are such dedicated ambassadors to the maritime sector and have given so much of their time and wisdom over many years of service.”

“They are so deserving of this award and a huge congratulations goes to each and everyone of them.”

All nominations were received from a number of the Board’s 43 constituent members and 16 Port Welfare Committees.

The recipients will receive their award at the MNWB’s Annual Conference in Southampton (November 21-22).

Find out more about the award here