Dec 18, 2016
Charity's Christmas Appeal given extra urgency

The Sailors' Children's Society has launched one of its most important Christmas appeals of the last few years.

The Hull-based national charity, which supports nearly 450 children of disadvantaged seafaring families, needs thousands of pounds to provide warm clothing and sturdy footwear for them this winter. 

Each child has been earmarked £55 and all donations will go directly to clothing and welfare grants.

This year's appeal has been given extra urgency by a drop in legacies to £5,226 from an average £80,000.

"It has been an extremely challenging 12 months especially as we have received 103 new applications for help," said chief officer Deanne Thomas.

"You can’t predict legacy money and this is one of those years when it is down. We have supporters all over the country to whom we are very grateful." 

Christmas Appeal leaflets have been sent to shipping companies and maritime organisations, as well as regular supporters, as the charity seeks a £10,000-plus boost. Each child also gets a small grant from the trustees of the society to ensure no one is forgotten at this special time of the year.

The annual East Yorkshire business luncheon, for which Williamsons Solicitors of Hull is the main sponsor, realised £28,730 in October when football personality Dave Basset was the guest speaker.

Bill Waddington, director of Williamsons Solicitors, paid tribute to the generosity of the many local firms that have turned the luncheon into one of the major events on the business social calendar.

"Our fundraising is crucial to the Sailors' Children's Society achieving its aims of helping seafaring families who have fallen on hard times," he said.

"Everyone wants children to get a good start in life. There can be few better causes, especially in this region with its seafaring history."

With the society needing £700,000 a year to meet its obligations, fund-raising is continuous. Seafarers UK, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Trinity House are among organisations that provide grants.

Supporting needy families since 1821, the society provides a wide range of benefits. "We don't do the flashy things, but help with day-to-day life for families in real difficulties, including home visits and emotional support," Mrs Thomas added.

These range from computers, school uniforms, clothes and heating grants to the caravan holidays and helping children to join the Cubs or Brownies and take up music lessons. 

Beneficiaries are children of families who have served in the Royal Nay, the Merchant Navy or the Fishing Fleets including ferries, tankers and cruise ships, and are on means tested benefits.

To make a donation, please go to or call funding coordinator Wendy Fish on (01482) 342331.