Today (25 June) is International Day of the Seafarer. Raising money for maritime charity Seafarers UK , fundraiser Kate Astley will be climbing the mast of the STS Lord Nelson in just a few days. We heard from Kate in the lead up to her daunting challenge:
Almost exactly two years ago I started working in one of the biggest, and one of the least talked about, industries in the world – the maritime industry.
One of the first things I learned on entering the industry is that 95% of all goods travelling in and out of the UK are transported by ship.
Think about that for a moment… statistically 95% of what you see (unless you’re in the middle of the wilderness) got to you wholly, or at least in part, by ship.
And it got there thanks to hundreds of thousands of people who leave their families for months on end, often with little access to telephone or internet communication with their loved ones. These people put themselves through storms and risk pirate infested waters so that we can have a cup of coffee and chat with our Mums on our iPhones.
The UK has a strong maritime tradition, as was clear for everyone to see over the Jubilee weekend when thousands of ships processed down the Thames in the royal pageant. And yet I’ve found, in my two short years in the industry, even in this country the men and women seafarers that are the backbone of the world economy are rarely in peoples thoughts – if they even spare a thought for them at all.
That’s why when Seafarers UK put out the call for 30 people to climb 130ft up the mast of a tall ship – the STS Lord Nelson – to raise awareness and money for the UK and Commonwealth seafarers I jumped at the opportunity.
SeafarersUK supports men and women who have served at sea in the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets, Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and their families.
In my short time in the industry I’ve come to develop a huge amount of respect for these people, and feel that they should be better recognised and supported by all of us who benefit from their hard work. If I can do a little bit to help that, I will do everything I can.
I’ve been actively fundraising for a couple of weeks now and raised over £100, but I’d love to do more and I only have a few more days to do it in. I climb the mast on the 29th June.