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Woolly hats for sailors

11 January 2013

TWO of the ships in port in Falmouth for Christmas Day were from the UK. But their crews, like their Filipino, Polish, and Bulgarian counterparts of last year, warmly welcomed a team of two chaplains and three volunteers, with sacks of 130 Sinbad Christmas gifts, together with the trolleys of liquid refreshment that had been given by the Dockyard management.

On the Trinity House Vessel Patricia, the crew of 22 men and women invited the team aboard, where they were entertained by the Captain and crew. After the Sinbad team had distributed the presents, all of which included a woolly hat labelled "Knitted for you by a lady in Cornwall UK", they moved on to RFA Lyme Bay, a large Admiralty Support Vessel. There, because of the ship's tight security, they had to wait on the quay until a happy deputation arrived to receive the presents. They then moved on to MV Seatizen, moored in a high-security area "involving quite a trek over slightly precarious planking", where one of the crew from overseas had met the team the previous year, and was delighted to see them again.

Primrose Peacock, organiser of the Sinbad scheme, tells me that, last year, 234 suitable hats had been knitted (plus a dozen or so unsuitable ones, she says, given to another charity), which are always popular among seafarers. They and the other gifts, such as male toiletries, gloves, scarves, handkerchiefs, and sweets, were mainly collected from St John's and St Piran's in Truro, as well as some from Methodist and Roman Catholic churches, and from individuals who attended the Stithians Agricultural Show in July.


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