The Shipwrecked Mariners' Society's (SMS) Annual General Meeting was held at Fishmongers' Hall, London Bridge on Tuesday 5 October.
Attended by the SMS executive, members, award recipients and family, the gathering marked the one hundred and eighty second meeting for the national maritime charity.
SMS patron Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal paid tribute to the hard work and flexibility shown by the society during the pandemic. 'We have seen enhanced collaboration across many of the frontline charities and this has enabled a smoother and more efficient delivery of much needed support to those in need,' she said. 'The volunteers and those who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic deserve enormous credit.'
SMS president Admiral Sir George Zambellas thanked the trustees for making available an additional £1m for beneficiaries during the pandemic. That enabled SMS to make regular grant payments in 1,302 cases, with 832 new applications for assistance that resulted in 102 new regular beneficiaries, and 267 three-year case reviews.
'The impact of COVID-19 has clearly been felt across the board,' he said. 'Many of our beneficiaries suddenly found themselves without any income and in many cases, not knowing where to turn. The majority used Universal Credit as the only support available, which left them without any food on the table, or the ability to keep the lights on, until the first payment arrived.'
Acts of bravery at sea were recognised at the event with the society's Skill and Gallantry Awards ceremony.
The Lady Swaythling Trophy went to Captain Richard Hoey, master of the Maersk Montana, for assistance in the rescue of yacht La Bell Vie approximately 200 miles southwest of Corke.
The Emile Robin Award was received by Lewis Mulhearn, skipper of Galwad y Mor, for saving his crew on fishing vessel Colorado Coliseum, which was rocked by an underwater explosion from an ordnance device in December 2020. Mr Mulhearn assisted several crew members despite breaking his own back in the explosion.
An Individual Commendation went to Peter Paterson, skipper of Silver Dawn, for aiding in the rescue of 60 people from the sinking vessel.
Superintendent Claire McIntosh of the Fisherman's Mission in the Pacific Islands received the Lord Lewin Award for exceptional work during the pandemic.
In presenting the award Commander Andrea Crooke, Royal Navy, said: 'She has worked extremely hard over the course of the last year, noting that local fishermen have been particularly hard hit by the impact of COVID-19. Completing 35 successful applications over this period, she has ensured the delivery of much needed support to individuals and families to find themselves in desperate situations.'
Winners of SMS's ninth annual photo competition were also recognised. Michael Marsh took top prize for his entry, ‘The Fisherman’s Wake’, showing a stunning aerial shot of a fishing trawler taken in Whitstable, Kent.
Other winners included Jacky Pratt for 'Hopeman Happiness'; David Dodds for 'St Mary's Lighthouse'; Chris Mole for 'Old Rope'; and David Stearne for 'Pinnace And Barges Rot In Their Graveyard In The Medway Mud'.