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Seafarers Parcel Wrap


Leith schoolgirl’s Christmas card gives cheer around the world


A Christmas card designed by a Leith schoolgirl will be accompanying Christmas parcels for seafarers in Scotland this December.  The initiative, coordinated by Leith Churches Together, will distribute over 500 parcels to seafarers from many different countries who have to spend the festive season in Scottish ports, far from their homes and families.


The parcels contain small items such as hand-knitted woolly hats, stationery and toiletries, and the special Christmas card with a nautical theme, designed by Lauren Hill of Pilrig Park School, Leith, which includes the message, ‘Wishing you peace and happiness from Leith, Scotland’.


This year, the parcels are a bit different as they have used special bags which form part of the present,’ said Jennifer Stark, leader of Leith Churches Outreach Project.  ‘The sailors find the bags really useful, and they’re also a lot lighter than cardboard boxes for the port chaplains to carry on board!’


The ‘bagging up’ was done last weekend in Ocean Terminal, where Jennifer is the chaplain, with a team of willing volunteers from several Leith churches.  The initiative has joint funding from the Sailors’ Society, Apostleship of the Sea and Mission to Seafarers, as well as Leith Churches Together.  Passers-by are asked to write a friendly message on the cards, which are then popped into the bags, ready for delivery to ships in Hound Point, Braefoot Brae, Grangemouth, Troon, Rosyth and of course, Leith.


‘Ocean Terminal is a great place to do this and the staff have been really supportive, ‘said Jennifer.  ‘And the card this year is one of the best yet! Lauren came down with her family on Saturday and it was lovely to meet her and say thank you in person’. 


Leith Port Chaplain, Tim Bell, said, ‘Many of the sailors come from impoverished countries and spend their working lives trying to earn enough to provide for their families.  Those from the Philippines will be in great anxiety at this time because of the recent typhoon, and Christmas may be a very sad time for them.  Even such a small thing as a parcel and friendly greeting can make a difference.’


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