2021 Shetland Appeal

Please consider giving to
the Fishermen’s Mission Shetland Appeal this year,
a year that has seen so many hardships
for fishermen and their families.

Defiant LK371 off Whalsay – by Ivan Reid

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via JustGiving

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It’s 140 years since the Fishermen’s Mission or the ‘Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen’ was formed and the first Mission ship put to sea. Our founder Ebenezer Mather, then Secretary of the Thames Church Mission Society, had become aware of the desperate plight of fishermen working on the Dogger Bank and deciding something had to be done,
he managed to raise £1000 – a lot of money in those days – and purchased a ship called the ‘Ensign’.


Renown LK52 towing off Skerries – by Ivan Reid

The ‘Ensign’ fished to help support her crew,
but she also carried clothes, medical equipment, bibles, and other literature.
Men were welcomed on board and given dry warm clothes, medical treatment, and spiritual care. Worship services were held each Sunday on the ship, sometimes going on for several hours.



The Mission’s founding was in the wake of two major fishing disasters that same year, the first being around our own shores in the Gloup Disaster on 21st July 1881 when 58 men perished in an unexpected summer storm. Barely three months later, on 14th October, a European windstorm struck the south-east of Scotland, and 189 men were lost
in the Eyemouth Disaster, and with two thirds of them belonging to the town itself the day became known locally
as Black Friday.


Fishermen's mission car parked at a port in Shetland

Blacksness pier, Scalloway

The work of the Mission quickly expanded and within 10 years
there was a fleet of 11 ships plying most of the North Sea.
They were always recognisable by the Mission mottoes painted on their bows – ‘Preach the Word’ on one side and ‘Heal the Sick’ on the other.
In time fishing practices changed, the Mission became shore-based
and in the twentieth century many large centres were built in the major
UK ports serving fishermen and their communities for decades.



Today we work from welfare offices, mini-centres and often completely remotely – wherever we are best placed
to respond to fishermen and their families, active and retired, in their time of need.

With modern vessels, vastly improved equipment, and accurate weather forecasting, disasters are thankfully rare. But they still happen! I remember that morning last February when I was awakened at 0430hrs to be told that there was a man overboard from one of our local vessels and I feared the worst. Sadly, my fears were realised, and I spent the next few days trying to bring help and support to the remaining crew, eventually procuring accommodation ashore to provide some much-needed respite for the weary men.


Isla K LK776 – Clift Sound

Situated in the UK’s second largest landing port,
smaller incidents at sea are relatively common and over
the past year we have assisted on around 20 occasions when fishermen have come ashore following an accident, having taken unwell on their vessels, or perhaps urgently requiring dental/pharmaceutical assistance.
Help given has included providing clothes and toiletries; arranging taxis, or providing transport; booking flights, ferries, and accommodation; trying to bring reassurance
to the fishermen concerned as well as liaising with skippers and often families back home.


On 21st July I went to Gloup in Yell and participated along with two minister colleagues in a simple service
of remembrance at the Memorial, attended by local people marking that poignant anniversary. It was also
a great honour to be involved with Shetland Seafarers’ Association on Merchant Navy Day, 3rd September,
with the dedication of their memorial at Hay’s Dock. This commemorates the many thousands of Shetlanders
who have served in the Merchant Navy over the decades and honours those who never returned, not only
during times of conflict but also because of accidents at sea.


Gloup Memorial service, Yell – by David Lees

Never far from bereavement, in the past twelve months I have
stood with seventy families conducting funeral services frequently
in the open-air, providing help and comfort and assisting them navigate the ever-evolving Covid regulations.

Yes, eighteen months on, the implications of the virus still impact
so much on each of our lives.




Please help support us, 140 years on, as we continue to bring Christian care and support to those who undertake
a difficult and still dangerous occupation in these unpredictable and ever-changing times.

Thank you,

Aubrey Jamieson,

Senior Superintendent – Shetland

Click here to donate to the Shetland Appeal
via JustGiving

Text SHETLANDAPPEAL to 70085 to give £10

Standard network rates apply

Scalloway Harbour

We thank our sponsors who support the Shetland Appeal: EnQuest / Sullom Voe Terminal, Malakoff Ltd.,
DFDS Shetland, Tait & Peterson Solicitors,
and SSEN Transmission
for sponsoring the print and delivery costs
of the Shetland Appeal 2021 leaflets.

Logos of Corporate supporters for the Shetland Appeal