For Walter, a flimsy tent was his only protection from the weather. After nine months he was offered a flat with only three days’ notice. Walter had very little to furnish his new home and his next benefit payment was several weeks away. He desperately needed help but did not know where to turn.

Thankfully one of Walter’s past crewmates urged him to contact the Fishermen’s Mission – assuring Walter they could help retired fishermen like him. Sal van Beem, the Fishermen’s Mission Port Officer in Hull takes up the story: “Walter really had not much more than the clothes he stood up in, so we had to act fast. Firstly, we provided an emergency payment to buy food. Next came grant applications to sister maritime charities to purchase carpets, a bed, a cooker, a fridge, and further essential items for Walter’s flat.

Gifts in wills

“Keeping in touch with Walter was imperative so we provided him with a mobile phone. This became indispensable when we signposted Walter to the Seafarers’ Advice & Information Line – part of the Citizens Advice Bureau – when he had difficulties with his energy supplier and other financial issues. Finally, we made Walter’s Christmas by giving him a hamper thanks to Seafood and Eat It. “We could swiftly help Walter due to great teamwork with other maritime charities and through gifts from generous supporters. I’m so pleased to say that Walter is now settled in his flat and we will continue to support him for as long as he needs us.”

We’ll leave the final word to Walter as he has something important to say to all readers of the Network: “Thank you to all who support the Fishermen’s Mission. You made my empty house a home.”