This year the Mission to Seafarers charity celebrates 165 years since its foundation, and the UAE branch took the opportunity to mark the occasion in some style with a fund raising birthday party at the spectacular new ME Dubai hotel in Business Bay, designed by award winning architect Zaha Hadid, on April 21st.
The host for the evening was the Reverend Canon Andy Bowerman, Regional Director, Middle East and South Asia, who said, “It was a chance for us to say thank you to the local maritime community for their ongoing support and to encourage them to continue to back the work of the Mission in the Middle East by telling them a little about the realities facing seafarers at this moment in time. We are not sure exactly on what date the Mission was founded, so we chose April 21st, the Queen’s Birthday, as she is our Patron, and that seemed an appropriate occasion to mark this milestone.”
Reverend Bowerman was also able to share some of the Mission’s plans for expansion and growth. He said, “We would like to reestablish ourself in Yemen again and also have a presence in Basra, Iraq, for the first time. This expansion inevitably costs money, so the support we get locally is greatly appreciated.”
The event also presented an opportunity to highlight a global initiative instigated by Ince &Co, which will support four maritime charities, including the Mission to Seafarers. They will be creating a global choir to record the iconic Rod Stewart song ‘Sailing’ in order to raise awareness of the critical roles seafarers play on a daily basis.
Overall, some 110 members of the local shipping community attended the 165th birthday party, all seated in safe, socially distanced tables of seven. The evening raised an impressive AED 100,000 from a live charity auction hosted by Dubai radio personality, Tom Urquhart, ticket sales, sponsorships and donations.
Next year the Mission marks 60 years since it established a presence in Dubai. Reverend Bowerman adds, “We are already looking forward to celebrating our diamond anniversary with our friends and to inviting them to another birthday party in 2022!”