People dedicate their lives to the sea

The parade at the annual Shore Service in Warsash
The parade at the annual Shore Service in Warsash
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Rev Nicky-Sue Terry of St Mary’s Church, in Warsash talks about the churches annual shore service, linking the church to the sea

ONE of the things you realise, as a vicar along the south coast, is the importance of the sea in all our lives.

It’s not just the fact that the beaches and the views are lovely.

There is also the economic legacy of living by the sea, the fact that so many people’s jobs were and are connected with seafaring, shipbuilding, the Royal and Merchant Navies, tourism and the like.

And of course our local military heritage stems from this region’s history as the home of the Royal Navy.

Some people still remember the D-Day invasion being launched from our beaches, including here at Warsash, 71 years ago.

Many more can remember the despatch of the task force to liberate the Falkland Islands in 1982 and the celebrations on its return.

Our church marks these links with the sea at an annual Shore Service on The Hard in Warsash.

One of our retired ministers, the Reverend Bill Day, led this year’s service, and my husband and colleague Mike gave the sermon to a gathering of more than 250 people.

Both Mike and Bill have first-hand experience of life at sea, having served in the Royal Navy.

It was great to see such a good turnout as we thanked God for what the sea means to us.

We also remembered the risks that seafarers face daily to support our trade and lifestyles.

We were reminded visibly of these in January with the Hoegh Osaka incident off our own shores.

So many of our families know what it feels like to have a family member serving on board a Royal or Merchant Naval vessel somewhere in the world.

Prayer and mutual support are so important for such families.

St Mary’s choir sang for the service, accompanied by the Warsash Band, and the reading was given by Fareham’s new MP, Suella Fernandes.

Local uniformed organisations paraded, and other local representatives attending included the Mayor and Mayoress of Fareham, Cllr Mike and Mrs Anne Ford, and county and borough Cllr Sean Woodward.

The money raised from the collection always goes to the Mission to Seafarers, which helps all of those whose livelihoods take them onto the sea, and the Royal British Legion, which of course helps us all to remember the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf.

To learn more about St Mary’s Church in Warsash, visit: stmarywarsash.org.uk.