Monthly Missive – Calling on Volunteers
Calling on Volunteers
Today, the 4th of July, is a day that gives me at least, something rather special to talk about. Depending on where you are, the day may have a personal, national or even local significance. That is how it has been for our colleague in North Shields who for the third year running managed to put together another very successful Mission Aid event. I had the opportunity to take part and declare it officially open immediately after the Hon. Alan Campbell MP, awarded the certificate of ‘Volunteer of the Year’ to one of the many hardworking and dedicated local supporters of the Fishermen’s Mission.
There are a huge number of fishermen and families nationwide, who know what our dedicated Mission colleagues do often unsung locally within their own communities. Having the honour of seeing our staff in their environment first-hand it is often difficult to find words to express fully to strangers the Mission’s true impact. That was certainly not my problem today at Mission Aid 2015, standing on the Quayside at ‘Canny Shields’ trying to recount the impact of our work with Fishermen in the company of a host of volunteers, both young and old who had taken time out, showcasing a variety of talents having sacrificed their Saturday to raise necessary funds and tell the public who we are and why we are so keen doing what we do.
The volunteers today were incredibly varied. There were happy ladies standing enthusiastically behind stalls selling a variety of sea and fishing related items (some of them lovingly homemade, like the chilled Eton mess going for a mere £1. There was a fishermen; making fresh kippers on gas barbeque served on a massive bread roll. Also giving their time was a band of local kettle drummers, local church praise group, local school girls stylishly showing just how good they have got as a team doing Irish dancing. It was also a family affair for the Superintendent – a young mother with her 2 year old son both having a lot of fun and bringing lots of joy to many locals. There were interesting local personalities too – fishermen, vessel owners, local artist, a group of Mountain Rescuers and St John’s Ambulance First Aiders. I even met a German postgraduate student conducting a survey on the life of local fishermen (past and present).
My message to this gathering was a simple one: The Mission is about people – yes, people, who need us, but, also people who in voluntary capacity make our work possible and without whose dedication we could not do half what we do. To you all, we say: “Thank you for your amazing generosity of time and talent. Thank you for the sacrifice you have already made so far. Thank you for the commitment to continue to work with us into another day.”
Fishermen’s Mission Pastor