The Aberdeen Seafarers’ Centre (ASC) has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Work in recognition of the service it provides to support seafarers from across the globe during the time they are in Aberdeen.
The award was presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeen, Lord Provost Barney Crockett to Centre Superintendent and Port Chaplain Howard Drysdale on behalf of the many volunteers who give their time to provide a service 365 days a year. The Queen’s award is the highest award given to UK volunteer groups and is equivalent to an MBE for individuals. Colin G. Taylor, Chair of the Board of Trustees, praised the 40-plus volunteers for the work they do. “The Aberdeen Seafarers’ Centre is proud to be the named recipient of this Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service however it is those who volunteer their time for the Centre and the Port Chaplain who truly deserve praise and gratitude from all who benefit from everything we are able to offer. “We are what we are because of our volunteers, many assist by manning the Centre on a rota basis whilst others contribute by knitting and supplying the woolly hats for which the Centre has become well-known throughout the world,” said Mr Taylor who is also Lord Dean of Guild for the City of Aberdeen. “We are a charity and therefore dependent and grateful for all support, those who give of their own time and those, both individuals and companies, who provide financial assistance. The Aberdeen Seafarers’ Centre could not function without the generous support of many city residents and companies. “The Port Chaplain, Howard Drysdale, is a remarkable man and the Centre revolves around his dedication, the Award reflects on this and I thank him on behalf of the trustees of the centre, our volunteers and every seafarer who has crossed his path.” In the last year, the Centre was visited by around 3,500 seafarers from 36 countries and staff and volunteers undertook 2,046 ship visits assisting more than 24,100 seafarers. This has included the crew of Malaviya Seven, stranded in Aberdeen without pay since June 2016. The Centre is one of a number of charities providing welfare and support to the men. Half of the crew has now returned home to India but the Centre is continuing a fundraising campaign to raise funds to support the remaining crew members who will remain in Aberdeen until the vessel has been sold. Formed as a charity in 2008, the ASC opened its centre on Market Street in December 2011. It is now recognised and respected by the global seafaring community, including companies operating in the oil & gas industry and the seafarers who use its facilities which include welfare services, practical health and advice, care and friendship.