Seafarers coming in to the Port of Liverpool will now get an even warmer welcome than usual thanks to the efforts of 25 Wirral knitters.
The team of women, led by Jackie Scanlon, from St Joseph’s Parish Church, in Upton, have spent seven years knitting more than 5,000 hats in a project for Liverpool Seafarers Centre.
“We are all absolutely thrilled to have reached this milestone,” said Jackie. “We started off from very humble beginnings in 2011 when we were asked to knit a few hats. It really took off and while not everyone in the parish knits, many people got involved by donating wool and material.
“When the seafarers arrive in Liverpool, they are often looking for some form of comfort and respite, and with the cold wet conditions they endure we have found that new, warm woolly hats go down a treat.
“We never thought we would end up producing this volume of hats, but the demand just keeps coming, and we take great pride in offering the service.”
Jackie has has a strong connection with the British Armed Forces, as a former RAF Cosford and RAF Lyneham recruit. Her son Andrew is a former Royal Navy officer, while her father John, aged 91, is a Merchant Navy veteran with long-term involvement with Liverpool Seafarers Centre.
She added: “In Merseyside we have such a strong emotional connection with the sea. There are so many families who have a link with the shipyard, the Royal Navy, or seafaring.
“My family is no exception. My father John has always instilled in us the importance of serving in the community and he still joins us now to hand the hats out to seafarers, because it’s so close to his heart.
“We’re hugely grateful to all the members of our parish who have supported the initiative over the years, whether it be knitting or supplying wool.
“Members from another community group called Rhythm and Line who use the parish hall have also greatly contributed. Without each and every persons’ efforts we would never have been so successful.”
Liverpool Seafarers Centre offers wide-ranging support to 50,000 seafarers who pass through the River Mersey ports and berths every year. The charity is an ecumenical partnership between the Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and The Mersey Mission to Seafarers.
Chief executive John Wilson added: “We are incredibly fortunate to have such strong support from people across our region who recognise the importance of seafarer welfare. However, we are keen to reach out to more local community groups, fellowships, businesses and volunteers who may not have heard of Liverpool Seafarers Centre and can help support our vital work.”