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On Thursday 12 June, three deck officer cadets were chosen to attend and be part of the Shipping Festival service which takes place once a year in Winchester Cathedral.
The three cadets, Austin De Souza, Katarzyna Bachryj and Rebecca Collins, all sponsored by SSTG/P&O Ferries, were asked to take part in the service as this was the first time Warsash Maritime Academy had chosen three cadets from the same company. The cadets were part of a parade made up of various maritime organisations: the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Maritime Coast Guard, Royal Logistics Corps and Sea Cadets, who each marched with their standards.
The service is organised by the Southampton Master Mariners club and celebrates and gives thanks to God for the continued prosperity of the shipping industry in our region. It also commends the dedication of all who serve in and contribute to it, and in particular those whose home is at sea and those who face everyday dangers. The service first began on July 1st 1930. During Evensong in the cathedral, the flags of the merchant navy and the Missions to Seamen were received by the bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend F T Woods DD, who dedicated them to the Glory of God and retained them for safe keeping in the cathedral. The service has been taking place every year since then except during World War II.
Attending the service were various maritime companies and individuals. Among the procession were the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, Rear Admiral Iain Henderson CB CBE DL; the Head of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service, Commodore Robert Dorey; the Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Sue Blatchford; the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Eileen Berry and many more influential people.
After the service of hymns, readings, prayers and parading the standards, there were drinks and canapés offered in in the Cathedral grounds, where everyone shared their stories and experiences.
“I very much enjoyed the service at Winchester Cathedral, it was great to meet people who have been to sea their whole lives and could share their stories with us. I met a few gentlemen who worked for P&O Ferries for over 30 years, which was really interesting for us," commented Rebecca Collins. "On the night I was really nervous but the whole service ran really smoothly, from the beginning standing to attention, to the slow march coming out of the Cathedral at the end," she continued.
“It was an absolute honour to be a part of the service. It brings warmth to the heart to know that merchant seamen who lost their lives during the war are not forgotten and are still remembered after all these years. I take pride in saying I was able to represent my company as well as Warsash Maritime Academy at this service and would gladly accept being part of it again,” said Austin De Souza.
John Bazley, head of school of professional studies at Warsash said, “The cadets looked very smart and were a credit to the Academy, SSTG and P&O Ferries."
“The cadets put a lot of work and effort into learning parade drill, marching and standard bearer drill. They gave their own time in the evenings to attend rehearsals and the service. The results were proven with various comments from dignitaries and guests alike about how smart, professional and pleasant the cadets were,” said David Baker, cadet liaison officer at Warsash.
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