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Celebrating a legacy of supporting seafarers

Seafarers Hospital Society has completed 200 years of providing health and wellbeing support to individuals in the maritime and fishing sector. The charity marked the occasion with a drinks reception at Trinity House attended by industry leaders, representatives from partner organisations, well-wishers and staff members.

The event also served as a farewell reception for their retiring Chair of Trustees, Peter McEwen and an opportunity to welcome incoming Chair, Captain Kuba Szymanski.

Seafarers Hospital Society CEO Sandra Welch said, “Peter has truly supported the Society’s staff, and his pride in their work was obvious for us to see – and shared by the trustees. Peter’s determination, vision and humour will be missed, but we will continue to benefit from his dedication and service, and we thank him sincerely for all his hard work and care over these many years.”

Peter McEwen MBE MNM served as Chair of the Seafarers Hospital Society for 12 years after his appointment in 2010, adding to his prior service as a trustee for the charity for 11 years. Under his remit, the organisation has broadened their provision for seafarers in the UK beyond priority medical treatment in the Dreadnought Unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.

He also spearheaded efforts to extend the crucial work of the Seafarers Advice and Information Line, helping with mental health provision through Togetherall, testing and extending work with SeaFit, and adding much needed provision for those seafarers working in the UK fishing fleets, while maintaining support for those in the Merchant Navy.

Addressing the crowd at Trinity House, Peter McEwen said, “In my time as a Trustee and Chair, my mantra – which I believe was the same as the founders – has been that if the Society wasn’t moving forward, it would go backwards. No standing still!

“In the last 20 years plus the Society has kept moving forward in providing enhanced services for seafarers and their families and I’m sure this will continue with the new Chair – Captain Kuba Szymanski,” he added.

Captain Kuba Szymanski takes on his role of Seafarers Hospital Society Chair in addition to his responsibilities as the Secretary General for InterManager, the international trade association for the ship and crew management sector. An ex-seafarer himself, he has lectured on the topic of ship management at the International Business School, Isle of Man for the past 16 years.