Those out at sea today and those whose lives were lost while away from the shore were remembered in an emotional service yesterday.
Dignitaries and residents came together as one to pay their respects at the Seafarers’ Service, which was held at Portsmouth Cathedral in High Street, Old Portsmouth.
I have been attending this service for ten years and yet it never fails to move meFlick Drummond, MP for Portsmouth South
Hymns were sung during the packed-out service with both Councillor Donna Jones, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, and Councillor David Fuller, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, reading passages from The Bible.
The Very Reverend David Brindley, Dean of Portsmouth, addressed the congregation during the service.
He said: ‘Staring out to sea is something we are blessed with here in Portsmouth.
‘However, we can never begin to contemplate the risks and the dangers of the sea. To look out at it is a recognition that there are more things in heaven and Earth that we can dream of.
‘It is a whole world out there and it is a challenge for us as it invites us to look beyond our present lives and wonder what it is possible.’
He invited the congregation to pray for all seafarers before the procession departed the church and gathered at the statue of Admiral Lord Nelson in Grand Parade.
Wreaths were laid before Councillor Fuller threw one into the sea to close the service.
Flick Drummond, MP for Portsmouth South, attended and praised the proceedings.
She said: ‘I have been attending this service for 10 years and yet it never fails to move me.
‘It is a very emotional service for the city and one that I’m glad to see so many people attend.
‘All those out at sea are very much on my mind on a daily basis, so the service really brought that home to me. It was an absolutely beautiful service.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Lib Dem former leader of the city council, added: ‘This is a really important service as the city exists for the sea and we must honour it and those who have lost their lives while in it. I am always proud to attend the service.’
Mike Jackson, from Old Portsmouth, also commended the day’s proceedings.
He said: ‘It was a very good service. The city is and has always been very close to the sea. This service is very important to those who live here as it gives time to remember those who have lost their lives at sea.
‘It was great to see so much support from residents around here and let’s hope that this long continues.’
David Biker, who is a member of the Nelson Society, travelled down from the Midlands to witness the service.
He said: ‘I thought it was a wonderful service that was very well-respected by the community here.
‘Portsmouth’s reputation as a maritime city is only strengthened by days like today.’