People in Sunderland can add their civic tributes for Merchant Navy Day on Monday 3 September.

The Red Ensign will be ceremonially raised at Sunderland Civic Centre at 10am by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan.

The Mayor will be joined by guests including the Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne of Wear, Major Eric Ingram MBE, DL and Captain Stephen Healy from national maritime welfare charity, Trinity House, with the public invited to join them and former and serving merchant seamen to show their support.

A welcome speech from the Mayor at 9.55am will be followed by the Deputy Lieutenant reading out a message from HRH The Earl of Wessex, who is the President of Seafarers UK which raises funds to help seafarers and their families in need.

Captain Healy of Trinity House will then said a few words about the Merchant Navy, and the service and sacrifice of all those who have sailed under the Red Ensign calling for a minute’s silence before the ceremonial raising of the flag in their honour.

Sunderland City Council is supporting the event organised by national charity Seafarers UK, to help raise public awareness of the Merchant Navy’s massive contribution to the life of the ‘island nation’ of Great Britain.

Merchant Navy Day was first held in 2000, with the ‘Fly the Red Ensign’ campaign launched in 2015 to remind people of its national significance and encourage their support.

Sunderland is one of many local authorities across the country invited to raise the flag in support of Merchant Navy Day, and this will be the fourth consecutive year the Red Ensign has been raised outside the Civic Centre in commemorative celebration of the event.

Cllr Scanlan said: “Sunderland has a very proud naval tradition and maritime heritage, and I am very honoured and proud to represent the people of our city at this event and raise the famous Red Ensign on their behalf.

“This is a community which recognises and appreciates the contribution made by the Merchant Navy to all our lives, as so many people from it have served in the merchant marine.

“I hope people will join us to support Merchant Navy Day, and be encouraged to pay their own personal tributes by seeing the Red Ensign flying proudly at the Civic Centre over the weekend.”

Chair of Sunderland Armed Forces Network, Graham Hall added: “Not only this country but the world owes a historic debt of gratitude to the Merchant Navy, for keeping the supply routes open to the Allies through treacherous seas and dark times.

“Many of those who have served, and continue to serve in the merchant marine, have a significant impact on all our lives, and sometimes their bravery goes un-recognised and un-remembered which is why Merchant Navy Day is so important.”

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