Every year dozens of ships arrive at the port of Plymouth. The seafarers onboard will come from the four corners of the earth; the Philippines, Syria, Ukraine on what is perhaps their first visit to Britain. They will be away from family and loved ones for many months, often isolated and fatigued.
Hannah Forrest (24), a recent psychology graduate from the University of Plymouth, is one of the Stella Maris-Apostleship of the Sea volunteers that are a friend for them. Hannah has always been interested in the Maritime world as her Father is a Naval architect. It only seemed natural then for Hannah to make enquiries about volunteering with Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) in Plymouth. She has now been a regular volunteer ship visitor for over 18 months.
She regularly visits the ships in port and brings with her an enthusiasm and freshness on each visit. Hannah relates easily to the seafarers putting them at their ease and asking about their lives. Hannah has been very quick in understanding what a hard life seafarers live day-to-day.
Seeing their gratitude and the difference it makes, Hannah has raised awareness of seafarers and the work of Stella Maris in her parish, especially to young people. She has recruited other volunteer ship visitors ensuring that many more seafarers receive a welcome in the Port.
Her nominator says: “Hannah is a pleasure to work alongside. She is always cheerful, eager to learn about the work of Stella Maris and great at harnessing the energy of other young people. Her loving concern and the interest that she demonstrates towards the seafarers is wonderful. She has deep faith for someone so young and brings alive the Gospel message - 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me'.”
Hannah Forrest, 24
Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea, (Diocese of Plymouth)