Please consider giving to the work of The Fishermen’s Mission in Shetland.
Please donate via one of the below options.
- Donate online by clicking here – you can choose to give a one-off payment or monthly.
- Text SHETLANDAPPEAL to 70085 to donate £10 Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone or SMS. If you’d like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text SHETLANDAPPEALNOINFO to 70085
- Send any cheques to The Fishermen’s Mission, Upper Floor Stewart Building, Esplanade, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0LL
The Fishermen’s Mission, Shetland
‘Providing a lifeline of welfare and support to fishermen and their families for more than 115 years.’
Looking back over the past twelve months, it’s true to say that last winter started with a bang when we received the devastating news that one of our skippers had collapsed and died whilst at sea on his vessel. His loss continues to be felt by his own family and island community as well as by the wider fishing fraternity. The following day more unexpected news came with the sinking of the fishing vessel ‘Guiding Star’, east of Shetland. Thankfully everyone was recovered without injury and some of the crewmembers were airlifted to Shetland where Fishermen’s Mission staff and volunteers were able to provide them with food, fresh clothing, and transport to the airport.
Having been away at that time, on my return home I travelled to Skerries to conduct the skipper’s funeral which turned out to be the first of four services that week. And the winter just seemed to go on from there, and then the spring, and then the summer! Bereavement and loss have been a huge feature of the past year and have affected so many families and practically every community of Shetland. On nearly 70 occasions I have been involved in conducting funeral services in many different locations – from Cullivoe in Yell to the South Mainland and as far west as Sandness – trying to bring comfort and support to families at very difficult times.
Thankfully, vessel sinkings are relatively rare but with fishing still being the most dangerous peacetime occupation, injuries to individuals are all too common. When a sick or injured fisherman is brought ashore, we are often called upon to transport them to the hospital or to visit and support them during their time there. On discharge, we regularly assist by providing accommodation and help with homeward travel, often liaising with skippers, vessel owners and families.
Our day-to-day work consists of getting out as much as possible to our fishing communities – calling along the retired fishermen and their widows, particularly those having suffered bereavement or been unwell, and perhaps others we haven’t seen for some time. Contact with the active fishermen is always maintained through regular calls to the harbour, meeting them in the course of their work on the quayside.
The arrival of the Tall Ships to Lerwick and other ports in the islands brought a real buzz this summer. Generally blessed with favourable weather, it was great to see the place bustling with so many locals and visitors out and about appreciating the sights of these magnificent ships, enjoying the food and entertainment, and taking the opportunity to catch up with folks not seen for a while. I was pleased to be involved in ‘Sail Yell’, taking part with other colleagues in the commemorative service at Gloup Memorial which marked the 142nd anniversary of the disaster, followed by a Sea Service held in Cullivoe Kirk later that afternoon. On the final day of the Tall Ships in Lerwick, I conducted the ‘Blessing of the Sails’ event held at Holmsgarth with various groups of musicians taking part and attended by a large number, despite a slightly damp morning.
Other events have included participating in the dedication of the new War Memorial at Quarff, leading the Annual Lifeboat Service at Aith and the Battle of Britain Service in Lerwick. It has also been good over the summer months to officiate at several wedding ceremonies and be part of some very happy occasions.
Please help us as we stand with fishermen and their families bringing Christian care and comfort in the good times as well as the bad, providing whatever help and support is required.
Mission Area Officer – Shetland
A massive thank you to our sponsors