Flag raised at Sunderland Civic Centre 'in tribute and appreciation' of the Merchant Navy

The Red Ensign has been raised at the Civic Centre for Merchant Navy Day.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 14:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 10:05 am
Mayor of Sunderland Councillor David Snowdon raises the Red Ensign, with Captain Stephen Healy (L) and Norman Taylor Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne Wear, commemorating Merchant Navy Day.

Sunderland Mayor, Councillor David Snowdon, raised the flag to show support for the service. He was joined by Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, Norman Taylor, Captain Stephen Healy from maritime welfare charity Trinity House, members of the public and merchant seamen past and present.

A message was read out from Prince Edward, the president of Seafarers UK which raises awareness of the Merchant Navy's historical contribution, as well as funds to help struggling sailors and their families.

The charity also organised the event with support from the council.

Mayor of Sunderland Councillor David Snowdon raises the Red Ensign, with Captain Stephen Healy (L) and Norman Taylor Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne Wear, commemorating Merchant Navy Day.

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Captain Healy described the efforts and sacrifice of everyone to sail under the Red Ensign. There was a minute's silence before the flag was raised.

Sunderland’s shipyards played a significant role supplying the merchant fleet during both world wars.

The first Merchant Navy Day was in 2000. The Fly the Red Ensign campaign began in 2015. It is the fifth consecutive year the Red Ensign has been raised outside the Civic Centre in commemoration.

Councillor Snowdon said: "Our city has a very proud naval tradition and maritime heritage, and many people from our community have served in the Merchant Marine.

"As mayor I was honoured and proud to represent the people of Sunderland at this annual event, and raise the famous Red Ensign on their behalf in tribute and appreciation of the contribution made by the Merchant Navy to all our lives.

"I hope people were encouraged to pay their own personal tributes to the Merchant Navy, by seeing the Red Ensign flying proudly at the Civic Centre."

Chair of the Sunderland Armed Forces Partnership, Jessica May added: "As an ‘island nation’ we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Merchant Navy who kept Britain afloat during two World Wars, and continue to rely on them today for the UK imports vital to our economic survival.

"Very often the bravery of those who serve or have served in the Merchant Navy can go unrecognised, despite their massive impact on all our lives and on world history.

"Merchant Navy Day is our opportunity to redress that balance, and raise the Red Ensign in tribute."